Microsoft's Updated 'Code of Conduct' Forbids Offensive Language On Xbox Live, Skype

Your mama, and now Microsoft, wants you to watch your mouth. Microsoft "may stop providing Services" or "close your Microsoft account" if you "publicly display or use the Services to share inappropriate content or material". "Offensive language" was listed as potentially inappropriate content. The new services agreement was posted this month and will go into effect Tuesday, May 1st for U.S. users. 

The service agreement applies to a number of Microsoft services such as Bing, Cortana, Office, Skype, and Xbox Live. If one's Microsoft services are cancelled, either by themselves or by Microsoft, they will lose their licenses and other products they have acquired. They will no longer have access to their data or content as well. Microsoft also reserves the right to block delivery of communication to or from their services or remove/refuse to publish a person's content if a user violates the services agreement. 
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Microsoft does not offer a definition of "offensive language" or how they will evaluate what is offensive. It appears that this definition will be determined when Microsoft investigates the potential violation. The company states that its reserves "the right to review Your Content in order to resolve the issue. However, we cannot monitor the entire Services and make no attempt to do so." 

The consequences for Xbox Live customers is slightly different. These consequences include the assignment of a new Gamertag if the one a person creates is "inappropriate" and permanent suspension or device ban. Xbox Live users are also prohibited from posting "controversial content" such as "controversial religious content" or anything involving "notorious" people or organizations and sensitive current or historical events. 

Nudity, bestiality, pornography, graphic violence, and criminal activity would be considered "inappropriate content" as well. Microsoft is also cracking down on "activity that is harmful to you, the Services, or others" such as hate speech. Once again, Microsoft does not offer a definition of hate speech in their new Code of Conduct. 

It is believed that Microsoft's services agreement may be in response to the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which was combined with the Stop Enabling Sex-Trafficking Act (SESTA). These bills make platforms responsible for users' content. FOSTA/SESTA have caused websites like Craigslist to close their "personals" sections. Opponents of the bills argue that the acts censor online speech and make it more difficult to track and arrest sex-traffickers.