The internet is undoubtedly one of most important technical
advances ever, but it’s not always a very nice place.

It’s the home of trolls and haters, a place where famous
ordinary people alike
are often subject to
shocking threats, insults
, and having their personal
information published online (a practice known as

It’s a thorny problem for social-media sites like Twitter,

which would rather protect free speech
instead of police
speech, and Facebook, where like-minded people can
gather and affirm each other.

But Microsoft is taking harder stance against hate speech. On
Friday it said it wants to make it easier for people to report
online abuse in its consumer communities, which includes
everything from the internet search engine Bing to gaming
community Xbox Live.

“For many years we’ve sought to protect our customers by
prohibiting hate speech and removing such content from our hosted
consumer services. While neither our principles nor our policies
are changing, we are refining some of our processes to make it
easier for customers to report hate speech,” explains Microsoft’s
chief online-safety officer Jacqueline Beauchere
in a blog post.

To that end, Microsoft introduced
a new form
that makes it easier to report hate speech and a
clear definition of the kinds of things that constitute hate
speech. Anything that advocates
violence or promotes hatred based on ag
e, disability,
gender, national or ethnic origin or race, religions or sexual
orientation/gender identity is the kind of thing Microsoft will

The new form also makes it easier for people to log a protest if
their sites or posts were found to be in violation and blocked or

Microsoft also recently joined other online firms to support the
European Commission Code of Conduct countering illegal hate
speech online, Beauchere says.