Ubisoft Brings Rainbow Six Siege Instant Banhammer For Hate Speech, Racism Or Toxicity

Rainbow Six Siege
Ubisoft is ramping up its efforts to curb hate speech, including racist and generally toxic comments, in Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. The publisher has flipped the switch on a system that automatically doles out instant bans to Rainbow Six Siege players who violate the company's code of conduct in such a manner, and some of the banned players have taken to Twitter to complain about it.

The policies that prohibit racial slurs and other types of defamatory comments are not new—Ubisoft stated in April that it was tracking the frequency of racial and homophobic slurs and would be applying bans with increasing severity. At the time, Ubisoft said the bans would last 2 days, 7 days, 15 days, or be permanent, depending on how egregious the offense, and that it wasn't a progression system (a user could be permanent banned on a first offense, in other words).

"Any language or content deemed illegal, dangerous, threatening, abusive, obscene, vulgar, defamatory, hateful, racist, sexist, ethically offensive or constituting harassment is forbidden," Ubisoft said at the time.
Following some recent complaints on Twitter, Ubisoft confirmed to PC Gamer that it's implemented a new banning system that differs a bit from the original plan. The automatic bans that offending users are now experiencing seem to last for 27 minutes (officially, it's supposed to be 30 minutes), and prevent participating in any part of Rainbow Six Siege, including custom games. On second and third offenses, the ban period lasts for 2 hours. If there's a third offense, Ubisoft opens an investigation into the player's account, with a permanent ban being a possibility.

The new ban system follows Ubisoft's updated code of conduct, which it detailed in a blog post last month. As outlined, forbidden conduct includes the following:
  • Harassing or bullying other players via verbal or written communications.
  • Any language or content deemed illegal, dangerous, threatening, abusive, obscene, vulgar, defamatory, hateful, racist, sexist, ethically offensive or constituting harassment.
  • Impersonation of any other player or Ubisoft employee.
  • Any conduct which interrupts the general flow of Gameplay in the Game client, forum, or any other Ubisoft medium.
  • Verbal or written abuse targeted toward a Ubisoft employee.
  • Use of macros. Any attempt to edit, corrupt or change Game or server code.
  • Any such behavior will result in the immediate cancellation of the account, and may even give rise to personal liability and/or penal penalties.
  • Use of third-party hacking, cheating or botting clients.
  • The purchase of in Game benefits, including but not limited to “MMR boosting services” from unlicensed vendors, as well as the promotion of such services.
Ubisoft also outlined its automatic banning system in June, which it said would be implemented specifically for "offensive language or behavior, threats, and harassment." And so here we are, with those bans now taking place. Many players are applauding the effort, while others are vehemently opposed to it.

The issued found its way to Reddit, where it drew over 1,200 comments before the moderators had to step in and close down the thread, which further highlights the problem of hate speech. Before that happened, however, one of the more interesting comments came from a user who said he was using the automatic ban system to his advantage.

"I feel like a dick, but I used this to my advantage earlier today. In a ranked game I typed in chat 'don't be racist', and an enemy got instantly kicked because I baited him into typing something racist," user Rook_Boi wrote.

Ubisoft probably didn't anticipate its ban system being 'manipulated' in such a manner, but even if it had, we doubt it would have made any difference. The publisher has been adamant about curbing hate speech and toxic behavior, baited or otherwise, and is actively doing something about it.