Microsoft has updated the Code of Conduct portion of its Terms of Service to clarify a few points.
Today, Microsoft provided a summary of changes coming to its Code of Conduct which will go into effect May 1, and while most of it’s old hat, there are some noticeable tweaks.
For Xbox owners, the updated Code of Conduct notes users could face bans, suspensions, and have their Xbox Live Gold membership revoked. The latter would also result in the loss of funds associated with the XBL account. Nothing super new on that end.
More than anything, the update seeks to provide clarification for what’s already in place for Xbox users, as noted in sections 5 and 13:
“We’ve clarified that use of offensive language and fraudulent activity is prohibited. We’ve also clarified that violation of the Code of Conduct through Xbox Services may result in suspensions or bans from participation in Xbox Services, including forfeiture of content licenses, Xbox Gold Membership time, and Microsoft account balances associated with the account.”
“In the Xbox section, we’ve clarified that when you sign up to Xbox Live or receive Xbox Services, information about your game play, activities and usage of games and Xbox Services will be tracked and shared with applicable third party game developers so Microsoft and the third party game developers can operate their games and deliver the Xbox Services. We’ve added new sections for Xbox’s Arena and Mixer Services, in available markets, and a new section to address cheating and tampering software.”
The sharing of inappropriate content or material such as nudity, bestiality, pornography, offensive language, graphic violence, or criminal activity is not allowed. Communicating hate speech, or advocating violence against others is also prohibited. I’d make a joke about foul language and bestiality, but I’m too tired, and you wouldn’t find it funny anyway.
The new Code of Conduct also applies to services outside of Xbox such as Skype and Microsoft Office.
What’s new, and brought all of this to light today, is a notice that Microsoft “reserves the right to review,” a user’s content in order to resolve any issues which may arise “when investigating alleged violations of the terms.”
The firm can then “take action including (without limitation) stopping providing Services or closing your Microsoft account immediately for good cause or blocking delivery of a communication (like email, file sharing or instant message) to or from the Services.”
But, before you freak out, Microsoft said it will “not monitor the services and make no attempt to do so,” which means someone will have to be reported before the company takes action. In short: Microsoft will not be actively listening in on your Skype calls, reviewing what you wrote in Word, or going through your chat logs on XBL.
Basically, the update to the Code of Conduct is Microsoft’s way of legally covering itself should it have to take action against a user. You can look the new ToS documentation for yourselves through the links, but it’s worth mentioning Microsoft hasn’t updated its Code of Conduct page for Xbox since 2015. We noticed this last tidbit when looking over the page over the weekend while writing up the Fair Play Alliance post.