Microsoft Xbox users' accounts suspended after swearing

Screenshot from Xbox Game
Image caption Users caught swearing will have their accounts suspended

Users of Microsoft's Xbox One console caught swearing in video clips are having their accounts suspended.

Files containing "excessive profanity" will be taken down and their owners will have access to some features on Xbox Live removed.

Microsoft said all files uploaded to its Upload Studio were monitored for violations of its code of conduct.

The review process was to help maintain a clean, safe and fun environment for all users, the company said.

Direct peer-to-peer communications such as Skype chats and calls are not monitored by the Xbox Live enforcement team, according to Microsoft.

Xbox Live, which allows users to upload media files, including videos they have made, and take part in multiplayer games, was available on previous Microsoft consoles, but the company says the new Xbox One console has a more sophisticated system of enforcement.

"As a result, if someone misbehaves on the service, we may only suspend some of their privileges," said a Microsoft spokesperson.

The XBox One was launched in the UK and 12 other countries on 22 November.

Rumours of account suspensions first surfaced on gaming forums, with one user noticing they could not upload videos after previously posting one containing a "bad word."

Ban or suspend

Responses to the action taken by Microsoft were varied.

"I question the validity of this, but the average gamer is 32. I don't mind hearing someone saying it. Free speech," said one member.

Another thought some moderation was necessary: "Game uploads get sent to everyone. You see them when you browse a game etc. There has to be some control and moderation. Your private conversations are not censored or moderated. Only what you share with the public which includes little kids."

Keza MacDonald, UK games editor at, said new features on the latest consoles presented challenges for companies.

"What's happening with the new generation of gaming consoles is that they are increasingly incorporating social network-like features - there's a lot more sharing and communication between players, which means more potential for abuse of the terms of service.

"Both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have robust parental controls, but those don't apply to content or video that players are uploading and sharing themselves.

"For this reason both Microsoft and Sony are strongly enforcing the terms of service... which is especially important when these consoles are in people's living rooms," she said.

Users of rival console, Sony's PlayStation 4, may also experience a ban if they fail to adhere to the program's terms of service.

Twitch allows gamers to "broadcast, play and chat" using a live streaming service but after reports of people using the feature to show sexual content the company announced that any streams not about gaming or games would be moderated and turned off.

"Twitch has a very strict terms of service policy. We are very vigilant about removing content that breaks the TOS guidelines and depending on the severity of the violation we will either ban or suspend accounts," the company said in a statement given to the website Kotaku.

The service is already very popular via other platforms but the PlayStation 4 is the first console to integrate the Twitch broadcasting feature.

The PlayStation 4 goes on sale in the UK on 29 November.

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