Microsoft to tackle terrorist content across services

Microsoft aims to ban online terrorist content with the help from its users and online reporting tools

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Microsoft to tackle terrorist content across services  Microsoft: "We have a responsibility to run our various Internet services so that they are a tool to empower people, not to contribute, however indirectly, to terrible acts."
By  Aasha Bodhani Published  May 22, 2016

Microsoft has announced the action it plans to take to ban all terrorist content from a selection of its consumer services.

The new policy will prohibit users from posting such content, including graphic violence, hate speech or supporting any terrorist group considered by the United Nations Sanctions List. The consumer services will include the Xbox Live, Outlook consumer version and document-sharing website Docs.

The Redmond software giant added that it will remove terrorist-related content from its search engine Bing, at the request from government agencies and it will also promote anti-terror links when returning search results for terrorism.

In a blog post, the company said: "We have a responsibility to run our various Internet services so that they are a tool to empower people, not to contribute, however indirectly, to terrible acts. We also have a responsibility to run our services in a way that respects timeless values such as privacy, freedom of expression and the right to access information."

Microsoft also said it would partner with others to meet challenges presented by terrorists' use of the Internet: "One challenge is that once a technology firm removes terrorist content, it is often quickly posted again. It is a game of "whack-a-mole," but with serious consequences. We want to see if technology that has worked well in other circumstances can be used to good effect here."

Microsoft stated it is providing funding and technical support to Professor Hany Farid of Dartmouth College "to develop a technology to help stakeholders identify copies of patently terrorist content. The goal is to help curb the spread of known terrorist material with a technology that can accurately and proactively scan and flag public content that contains known terrorist images, video and audio."

The company has also launched a page where users can report terrorist-related content, and if Microsoft agrees, it will take the page down.

"Terrorism is one of the truly urgent issues of our time. We are committed to doing our part to help address the use of technology to promote it or to recruit to its causes. As we look at additional measures we can take, our actions will always be consistent with the rule of law and with our belief in our users' rights to privacy, freedom of expression and access to information."

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