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Microsoft announces new resources to reduce hate speech

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Microsoft today pushed out in a blog post for users of its consumer services new resources to reduce hate speech. Users will now be able to communicate directly with the company to report hate speech, and petition for reinstating content via new online forms.

Most people are familiar with efforts by social networks like Twitter and Facebook to ensure safety within their respective online communities. Just last week, Twitter announced the suspension of an additional 235,000 accounts for promoting terrorism.

While Microsoft has also been active in preventing terrorist content from propagating on its services, the company has received less attention than its peers. Services like Outlook, Skype, Xbox, OneDrive and Office 365 draw millions of users that are too easily forgotten with the rise of new platforms like Snapchat and Instagram.

And while most interactions on these platforms are positive, even Microsoft is not immune to the distribution of hateful, inappropriate and sometimes illegal content. Microsoft regularly processes European “Right to be Forgotten” requests and filings for the removal of revenge porn, copyrighted content and illegal content.

Tangibly, in addition to prior efforts, Microsoft is launching two new forms, one each for reporting content and restoring content. At this point, Microsoft already moderates content for inappropriate speech and allows users to request review of a content removal decision.

“We will continue our ‘notice-and-takedown’ approach for removing prohibited content on hosted consumer services, and the new form aims to improve the quality and speed of our reviews,” said Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft Chief Online Safety Officer, in a blog post about the new forms.

The new resources are aimed squarely at reducing hate speech and increasing community by giving both sides a much needed voice.

Featured Image: David Becker / Stringer/Getty Images

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    In an effort to highlight its upcoming launch of more in-train Wi-Fi (not to be confused with in-train cricket attacks), the New York MTA, Transit Wireless, and publishing powerhouse Penguin Random House are getting together to release ebooks and articles timed to your commute. This project mirrors a product launched in London last year.

    As The Digital Reader notes, even Governor Cuomo is in on the fun. “New York’s transportation network must continue adapting to the changing needs of its ridership and a key part of that is delivering the amenities that have become essential components of everyday life,” he said. “Bringing Wi-Fi into underground stations helps riders stay connected throughout their commute, allowing them to check in with friends or family and access news or entertainment. We’ve made tremendous progress in modernizing the system and Subway Reads is a fun way to introduce riders to the new Wi-Fi experience.”‎

    Transit Wireless is giving away a few Kindle Fires and they are offering 175 short stories and chapters for riders. You can even take the stories off the train and above ground.

    It’s odd that the MTA feels it needs to advertise its exciting free Wi-Fi offer in any way. Given the previous inaccessibility of the system’s eldritch tunnels I figure all you have to do is post a sign that says “Free Wi-Fi” and people would jump. However, the ebook offering is a clever way to kick things off and it’s better than the previous system of trapping and tagging subway weirdos (above) for public exhibition.

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