Big Brother is here, and he’s not the government. Instead, it’s the guy we willingly invited into our homes. Paid for him to come in, even.
In a new update to its terms of service, Microsoft has announced it will ban accounts that cross certain lines, including ones that utilize “offensive language.”
The company warned: “Don’t publicly display or use the Services to share inappropriate content or material (involving, for example, nudity, bestiality, pornography, offensive language, graphic violence, or criminal activity).”
Only one of those is subjective, and subjectivity regarding the definition of “offensive” is why we don’t allow the government to police speech. Private firms are a different story — see what just happened to PragerU.
According to CBS Philly, these new rules will apply to accounts on “Office, Xbox, Skype, and other products.”
The company stated that it has no intention of monitoring every account: “When investigating alleged violations of these Terms, Microsoft reserves the right to review Your Content in order to resolve the issue. However, we cannot monitor the entire Services and make no attempt to do so.”
In other words, the thugs who have been attempting to suppress speakers around the country can now file complaints to shut you up online.
Worse, Microsoft is now going to be snooping around. A company with products installed on almost every computer in the country — both for personal use and for commercial use — will be scanning your language.
This is the world we’ve allowed.
We have trusted Silicon Valley to behave as guardians of free speech, despite them being private firms. We trusted them, and let their products become essential to our livelihoods.
Then Donald Trump won an election. Silicon Valley didn’t like that. And really doesn’t like you.
We’ve spent all this time worrying about what the government could do to us. We didn’t care enough about the private firms we were building our lives around, setting ourselves up for a similar kind of oppression.