Microsoft has announced a new policy to remove “terrorist content” from its consumer-focused online services.
It said material endorsing a terrorist organisation or its acts, or that encouraged people to join such groups, would be banned.
The rule will apply to services such as Xbox Live and Outlook webmail. But Microsoft said it wanted its search engine, Bing, to be “unbiased” and would not remove terror-related search results unless required to by law.
The company said: “Societies, acting through their governments, ought to draw the line between free speech and limitations relating to particular types of content.” But it was considering adding “links to positive messaging and alternative narratives” to search results related to terrorism.
It encouraged people to report terror-related content on Microsoft services via its website, but said it wanted to develop technology that could scan documents, images, video and audio to identify known terror-related material. In a blog post, the company said terrorism had “sparked intense discussion” about how companies should tackle such content on their services.
“We have a responsibility to run our various internet services so that they are a tool to empower people, not to contribute, however indirectly, to terrible acts,” it said.
But it added it also wanted to “respect timeless values such as privacy, freedom of expression and the right to access information”.