Phil Spencer on dealing with harassment and bad actors: ‘We’re not a free speech platform’

Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently spoke to the New York Times about the state of the industry and Microsoft’s current strategy across various hot button issues. A topic that reared its ugly head was community and specifically harassment across gaming social networks: interviewer Kara Swisher drew a link between anonymity and the Gamergate saga, asking what lessons the big platform-holders had taken from it. 

“The point you bring up about the anonymity on the internet and what behavior that that unlocks for people who want to leverage those for—I’ll call them evil reasons, I think is a great learning,” said Spencer. “[…] And what we find on our network is when people are misbehaving, we have a report function that’s built right into the social connections that people create on our platform. If we ban somebody’s account, we really have the ability to impact somebody’s gaming identity and what availability they have.”

If you’re thinking that doesn’t quite answer the question, Spencer goes on to elaborate on the good and bad of gaming social networks (“all positives and negatives of the human condition”). But there is one firm line in the sand.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

“One of the things we’ve stated about our social network is we’re not a free speech platform. We’re a platform around interactive entertainment and video games. And we’re not there to allow all kinds of social discourse to happen on our platform. That’s not why we exist.

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