Spend a typical day on Xbox Live will often see you hear a lot of 'colourful' language coming out of the other (usually very young) players. Racial and homophobic slurs are the ones people tend to think of, though kids these days can get rather creative. Microsoft has clearly had enough of that, and has opened a new portal for directly reporting any hate speech users come across.
It covers all Microsoft products, not just Xbox Live, and is based on the portal that allows users to report potential terrorist activity. The difference is that this one is designed to cover content "that advocates violence or promotes hatred" based on age, disability, gender, national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. It also streamlines the reporting process, making it easier to let Microsoft know when any sort of abuse is taking place.
This new system comes as part of Microsoft's dedication to the EU's fight against online harassment, though the new system isn't just available to EU residents. In an announcement post, Microsoft Chief Online Safety Office Jacqueline Beaucher said:
"We will continue our "notice-and-takedown" approach for removing prohibited content on hosted consumer services, and the new form aims to improve the quality and speed of our reviews. When hate speech is reported to us, we will evaluate each complaint, consider context and other factors, and determine appropriate action with respect to the content and the user's account."
As you can imagine, the fact that the new system makes it easier to remove content has a lot of room for abuse. If Microsoft ends up deleting content that doesn't contain hate speech by accident, there is a second website where users can ask to have it reinstated. [Microsoft via Engadget]