Microsoft unveils Xbox content filters to stop the swears and toxicity

Microsoft began testing new content filters for the Xbox Live messaging system today to prevent platform poisoning. Microsoft has handled mediation on Xbox Live for nearly 20 years, including the ability to report messages, gamer tags, photos, and more, but this new effort gives players control over what they see on Xbox Live. Initially, Microsoft released a text-based filter for messages on Xbox Live, but it has a much broader goal of filtering future Xbox Live party sessions so that real-time audio calls can be filtered by real-time tones. Similar to broadcast TV.

Xbox Live users can initially use four new levels of text-based filtering: Friendly, Medium, Mature, and Unfiltered. As you know, Friendly is the most kid friendly option designed to filter out the most aggressive messages. On the other side is Unfiltered, where Xbox Live messaging works most of the day.

Filtered messages appear with a new "potentially hidden message" warning. If you have an adult Xbox Live account, you can click to view the contents and, if necessary, to report using the usual tools. Subaccounts are set to familiarity level by default and are blocked by default to avoid potentially offensive messages. Parents can manage their levels through Microsoft's family settings, and filtering works on Xbox One, Xbox Game Bar, and the Xbox app for Windows 10, iOS, and Android.

For Microsoft, about filtering out the bad things people can send to me while playing the latest Call of Duty title. Much deeper. “At multiplayer sessions, stories of African-American players begin or see female gamers in a competitive environment being called by all sorts of names and harassments in the outside world, or members of the LGBTQ community can't speak. I'm worried about my voice on Xbox Live, ”explains Dave McCarthy, director of Microsoft Xbox operations, in an interview with The Verge . "If we actually realize the potential as an industry and this wonderful medium comes to everyone, there is no room for it."

McCarthy and his team have been exploring various ways to identify the context of the message. A mix of artificial intelligence and filtering. McCarthy says, “It's really tricky in a game environment. " in Halo tells you that you will be killing when you are preparing for a multiplayer mission, and that is another story when speaking in another setting. Finding a way to understand situations and nuances never ends. It's a fight. ”

microsoft unveils xbox content filters to stop the swears and

McCarthy spent part of his team meeting in one of the more bizarre moments of my life. You can beat the filter to attack your Xbox Live account with rude messages. I've tried some basic ways to solve common text filters by manipulating swearwords with accents or symbols, but Microsoft caught it. Even the contextual message about the zombies' killings was captured correctly. There was not enough time to fully test the system, but nothing could be prevented, and the internet can quickly adapt to create aggressive phrases and memes that attack specific communities. Microsoft has demonstrated how you can take certain phrases and add them immediately to your company's filtering system, but sometimes someone needs to see these words first.

Microsoft is now working more openly and transparently on how to adjust that word. Choice for applying these filters across Xbox Live and the community. McCarthy said, “To get users to be held accountable for their actions on Xbox Live and other services, we need to be transparent about our value systems, practices and what we do. "We've been successful in providing evidence as part of a transparency effort in our recent research and by guiding people to the new Xbox Live community standards."

Currently, Xbox Live users are ultimately looking for the Find hints about which message caused the problem for your account. But it's different from emphasizing bad behavior in a message to an account representative. Microsoft is considering some changes to how Xbox Live owners are notified when they break a rule, but the company goes far beyond text-based messages.

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Microsoft wants to fix voice chat toxicity issues with Xbox Live. When someone is invited to an Xbox Live party chat, it can cause a lot of toxic behavior and harassment. Microsoft Research has already developed a voice-to-text feature that can translate audio in real time, and the Xbox department wants to use it.

"What we've started experimenting with is actually taking time to translate your voice into text, and with this text filtering feature, what can you do to block possible communication in your voice settings? 39; ”McCarthy explains,“ There are countless other AIs and technologies out there that try to solve the speech problems that can be applied, such as speech recognition, emotion detection, and situational detection, in the early days. Is taking the time to do this. [

In terms of technology, it's quite complicated. Microsoft's goal is to get something similar to the filtering that TV stations can achieve in live broadcasts.

“The ultimate goal may be similar to what you would expect from a broadcast TV. Rob Smith, program manager for the Xbox Live engineering team, says: People are having a conversation and can detect bad steps in real time and beep for users who don't want to see them. "It's a great goal, but we need to take action towards it." Microsoft needs to consider the potential latency to analyze voice samples in real time as most party chats are used to coordinate in-game movement.

Microsoft sounds like it sounds before automated audio filtering, but I want to analyze party chat voices to detect toxicity. “In the meantime, we were able to do things like analyze individual speeches and figure out what level of toxicity they use in this session as a whole. And maybe do something like automatically mute it, ”says Smith.

Microsoft is conducting a variety of tests internally to determine what is most effective internally and to contact the Xbox Live community when implementing a party chat plan. An ambitious plan, but Microsoft has a big impact on privacy, so be very careful how you analyze this audio. McCarthy says, “We have to respect the privacy requirements at the end of the user, so we have to handle it carefully, and transparency will be the principle of getting gamers to do the right thing,” McCarthy says.

The Supreme Court confirmed earlier this year that the Supreme Court does not apply to private platforms such as Xbox Live, but Microsoft may participate in free press discussions about these filters. Microsoft here clearly understands what the intentions and the ultimate control communities expect.

“Xbox Live is not a free voice platform. We're a select community where you want some personal freedom, so we're making four different settings to get started here, ”explains McCarthy. “But we don't want to obscure what we mean. This place should be where everyone has fun, and everything we do functionally and moderately will be vectorized across such values. "

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