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Microsoft Xbox Moderation to Reduce Toxic Content



Mikaila Ulmer (left) and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speak on April 20, 2016 at the KeyArena in Seattle on We Day on stage.

Mat Hayward | We day | Getty Images

With Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other social platforms coming under fire for hate speech, Microsoft is trying to thwart toxic comments from its 63 million Xbox Live users.

Gaming is not the highest-priority Microsoft market –

; cloud infrastructure and productivity applications are playing a more important role in the business. However, the segment generated 10% of Microsoft revenue in the last quarter. The company continues to invest in its Xbox business as it moves away from other consumer markets such as wearables and music streaming. Microsoft must ensure that Xbox players do not hear or see any content that could turn off users or deter younger players.

Microsoft is taking these steps after the rise of the gamergate controversy that has led to people harassing and threatening women.

The changes follow Microsoft's recent update of the "Community Standards" for Xbox for gameplay, which highlighted some practices that are unacceptable. Now it goes even further with moderation tools.

"This summer we're providing our official club community managers with proactive content moderation features that help fans better discuss their favorite games," said Phil Spencer, Microsoft executive vice president of gaming. "We plan to bring new content sharing experience to everyone on Xbox Live by the end of 2019." Xbox Live has 63 million active users per month. The service includes groups where users can post content, comments, and chat rooms.

"The gaming community continues to grow rapidly and the upcoming launch of new game services such as Apple Arcade, Google Stadia and Microsoft Project xCloud will make gaming available to more people worldwide," Spencer said. "Our industry must now respond to the urgency of playing with our urgency for security."

Last week, Microsoft announced that it is partnering with Sony, whose PlayStation has long competed with Xbox to find out how Microsoft's Azure Cloud can become part of the Sony architecture for gaming and content streaming. And Microsoft will soon begin publicly testing Project xCloud, a system for streaming games to mobile devices, potentially bringing more players into its ecosystem.

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