On Monday, Microsoft announced a new way to filter chat messages on Xbox Live. Xbox will also add the filter to other aspects of the dashboard — like profiles, LFG, Clubs, and the Activity Feed — over time. The new chat filter is available for Xbox Insider players right now, and Xbox will launch the feature for all soon.
This filter is more advanced than previous Xbox community features, and completely customizable. It all stems from the four new levels of filters Xbox offers: Friendly, Medium, Mature, and Unfiltered.
The announcement post for the filter didn’t specify everything each variety blocks. Friendly seems to filter out most swears and words that players or parents would consider vulgar. Medium lets players slip a few raunchy words in, but still filters out the more vulgar words. Mature seems to be a very limited filter, with Unfiltered providing no filter at all. Some of the filters also identify bullying, and filter it out for players.
These filters function for both child and adult accounts, although child accounts are instantly set to Friendly. Children can’t change their own filter settings, but their parents can reduce their child’s filter.
When players receive a filtered message, they’re met with a new warning instead of the message: potentially offensive message hidden. Adults can choose to view the message, and both adults and children can click on the message to learn more about the filtering process. This also applies to the Xbox mobile app.
Players and parents can customize where the filters apply. They can set different levels of filters based on if the conversation is with friends or a random player met online. There are also options to filter out media in messages, and many other settings.
These filters seem aimed at giving Xbox players choice. Players uncomfortable with certain online interactions can create a more comfortable space while they play. And players who aren’t bothered by toxic messages are free to continue engaging how they see fit.
Rob Smith, a program manager at the Xbox Live engineering team, told The Verge the end goal for the team could eventually look like broadcast television, bleeping out swears in real time.
As of this writing, Xbox hasn’t announced a release date for the full roll-out of Xbox message filters.
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