back to article What the @#$%&!? Microsoft bans nudity, swearing in Skype, emails, Office 365 docs

Microsoft has advised customers that offensive language on Skype, in an email, or in an Office 365 Word document is a potentially account-closing offense under its updated terms of use. The tweaked services agreement, which comes into effect on May 1, 2018, now includes the following code-of-conduct item: Don’t …


    1. WallMeerkat

      Re: If we avoid US "English", will we be OK?

      But then they went overboard and put "ass" everywhere

      "Big ass truck" is just a large lorry

      "Grown ass man" is just an adult male

      Relevant XKCD etc.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: If we avoid US "English", will we be OK?

        Hell, they even said Fuck on the new Star Trek Discovery or was it fuckin' cool?

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: If we avoid US "English", will we be OK?

          You can always substitute "falcon"

  1. Anonymous Coward

    This is fucked up

    One simple word: censorship.

    Instead of holding people accountable for their own actions Microsoft prefers to take the easy way out and consider everyone guilty until proven innocent. And in doing so validated my expressed concerns when this whole 365 subscription model started: "What if... Microsoft suddenly decides that you can no longer have an option which you really need?".

    So basically... If you're working on the next erotic bestseller in succession to Fifty Shades of Grey and you're using Office 365 then you might want to be careful. Because if your work hits the market and does become a bestseller then you can bet that Microsoft will come knocking at your door because you violated their policies and are therefor now requested to cough up a huge fine.

    Or, a more likely scenario, they'll just trash your work while you were working on it. Who cares about intellectual property?

    But yeah, one again a solid example why software as a service is pretty much the dumbest thing you can get yourself into. Because there's no guarantee what so ever that the rules of the game don't get changed somewhere in between, leaving you pretty much empty handed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is fucked up

      " Because there's no guarantee what so ever that the rules of the game don't get changed somewhere in between, leaving you pretty much empty handed."

      On the contrary: The game _will_ get changed. That is the one thing that is guaranteed and has happened to every on-line item or service so far, constantly. Anyone trusting that it won't happen, is somewhat naive and/or lacking experience.

      All of those exists to make money and when the owner finds a better way to make money, the game will change, it's as simple as that.

      There're not many 'services' that exist only to provide a service.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Went through that once

    I went through this once when a very popular messaging service (of a financial news and services company belonging to and eponymous with a former mayor of NY - before he bcame mayor) prohibited profanity... eh... sorry... "vocabulary inappropriate in business correspondence" or some such. Users of the messaging service were mostly traders who can't communicate without four letter words...

    Cue a few days of very intensive world-wide experimentation including word-mangling, misspellings, usage of various live and dead languages, etc. The policy change was on the 1st page of WSJ the next morning, IIRC.

  3. nathanm

    They may as well just say "You know what, you're all automatically in violation of these terms just by using any of our products. For most of you, we'll choose not to enforce the terms, but every now and again, we will. So be good."

  4. Huw D

    No more transcripts of police conversations with suspects then?

    "And the gentleman came up to me and said 'Kindly go away officer, you lady's front bottom...'"

    Reminds me of the time the Partners at a Law Firm I was working for insisted on a word filter on all inbound/outbound emails - which resulted in a statement from a policeman being put into quarantine for exactly these reasons. It got released - 2 minutes after the lawyer that was expecting it had left for court.

    1. Spacedinvader

      Reminds me of this

  5. wolfetone

    Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo! What will we do?

    I know! They can Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo off and get Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo Echo Delta.


    1. psychonaut

      a new feature

      so, they are scanning your mail and phone conversations.

      if they make it so that outlook automatically adds appointments to your diary based on your emails, then tuesdays are going to get booked up to fuck.

      see you next tuesday

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      would that be

      Tango Whiskey Alpha Tango Sierra

      or as Alcohol is adult restricted would Whiskey also be banned..

      1. wolfetone

        "would that be

        Tango Whiskey Alpha Tango Sierra

        or as Alcohol is adult restricted would Whiskey also be banned.."

        You raise an interesting point. Plus with the sugar tax coming in, Tango would also be under threat.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    M$ Morality Police

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      "M$ Morality Police"


      we're only trying to help you, for your own good


      Protecting all the snowflakes, from language that's crude


      Victorian ethic reboot and political correctness too!


  7. SquidEmperor

    How Dare You!

    This is incredibly bad news. Basically the rule now is you cannot offend any one. Forget about swear words and so on, if I find anything you say offensive I can now raise a flag and (I assume) get you bumped off all MS platforms whilst they investigate it. Free speech means the freedom to offend, if we aren't willing to take the risk to offend, or worse silence those who do, we have no free speech.

    1. psychonaut

      Re: How Dare You!

      you cant GIVE offence, it can only be taken by someone.

      (jimmy carr will explain this for you...)

      what the recipient deems offensive could be anything. so the only sure course of action is to say nothing.

      SSSSSHHHHHH.....i'll get my coat

    2. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: How Dare You!

      "Basically the rule now is you cannot offend any one"

      No the rule is as it has always been - Say what you want but be prepared to deal with the consequences.

      "Free speech means the freedom to offend"

      Yes, but most adults have learned that causing unnecessary offence isn't a great idea.

      Go down to Harlem stand on a street corner and shout the N word... don't worry, as long as you explain calmly that you are within your rights to express your speech freely Im sure you will be fine.

      That said I do kind of agree with you that people are far too quick to call offence now and the fall out from what is in effect a very small issue is all too often blown out of all proportion.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How Dare You!

        "No the rule is as it has always been - Say what you want but be prepared to deal with the consequences."

        ... in a court. Not by a corporation automatically doing it and that's totally different.

        Not only that, you know it's different: In court you may defend yourself and you need proof too.

        When MS does it, a single world with whatever context is enough, by this article. Totally different.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How Dare You!

        I'm Black and aspire to be a rapper, so shouting "Hey Niggas" is absolutely fine - indeed expected of me. Tunefulness is entirely optional too !

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Feature request

    Can we remind them that Ruddy is an expletive in some parts of the world?

    Then convince them that Amber Rudd is an even more offensive form of the term referencing discoloration due to being pissed on by everybody for years?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I couldn't be fucked to use fucking MS fuckword 365 in the first fucking place (so they can go fuck themselves).

    Now, as to fucking skype, it does offer a fucking poser... well, as long as I can fuck verbally, I don't fucking care, what are they gonna do, fucking cut me o



    1. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: fucksional

      Ohhhh posted as anon... You're 'ard.

      1. Huw D

        In a complete about face...

        "You're 'ard"

        That's what she said... ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: fucksional

      ^ Hey, I just got a new signature for my email! Thanks!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Redmond spokesperson sent us the following answer,

    which, translated into plain English goes like this: "We were F... CLEAR, RIGHT?! SO F...! O...!

  11. okand

    If I also had to actually use the office365 instance I manage for a customer we would be shutdown immediately.

  12. Christoph

    What a great steaming stinking pile of billgates. (Hi MS, you'll have to ban that word now).

    I refer Microsoft's lawyers to the reply given in the case of Arkell v. Pressdram.

    1. Milton

      " ... stinking pile of billgates"

      "What a great steaming stinking pile of billgates. (Hi MS, you'll have to ban that word now)."

      Bah, you're just talking ballmers—nothing a kick in the sat'nads won't fix.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are they banning swearing on Xbox live voice chat ... if so my son is going to get a *LOT* quieter as abouut half the words he he *SHOUTS* at his friends overt Xbox will be banned .... hmm, I'm coming round to this idea :-)

  14. Spasticus Autisticus
    Paris Hilton

    This could be my fault - sorry.

    I have a friend that runs a scrapyard and one day he called to say the computer he uses to inform the DVLA of cars he'd scrapped had been upgraded to Windows 10 and he couldn't access the DVLA site any more. I tried all methods I could think of to get IE, Edge, Firefox, etc. to connect to the DVLA but nothing worked so I rolled back to Win7. I was offered a window to tell MS why this PC had been rolled back, I wrote what I thought of MS and Win10 which made my scrapyard owning friend blush. I did change it to be less offensive but as we're not sure that everything we type isn't recorded by MS - even if we delete it - MS may have been subject to some obnoxious abuse from me.

    Sorry again.

    The first line of this song sum up MS - - NSFW or MS. Paris because .....

  15. Barely registers

    "Just a carrier" ?

    So if Microsoft is policing the content of the messages sent over their services, does that strip away their insistence that they are "just a carrier" of messages, in effect becoming partly responsible for the content?

    1. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: "Just a carrier" ?


  16. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge

    To quote(ish) Monty P

    Silly bunts.





    What a load of collocks.

    Can it tell the difference between a bugger and a debugger?

    Will also have to move my copy of Roger's Profanasaurus to Libre Office.



    Does this stupidity encompass any file that finds its way onto One Drive?


    1. Chronos
      Thumb Up

      Re: To quote(ish) Monty P

      They're all a bunch of One Cares (French taunter accent).

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: To quote(ish) Monty P

      I bet you they won't play this song on the Radio - Monty Python - rewrite in honor....

      I bet you they won't show this document on Microsoft Word

      I bet you they won't show this new (bleep) document

      It's not that it's (buzzer) or (horn) controversial

      Just that (bell)-ing words are awfully strong

      You can't say (klaxon) on Microsoft Word

      Or (whip crack), or (arrow thud), or (croak)

      You can't even say I'd like to (güiro) you someday

      Unless you're a doctor with a really large (doing)

      So I bet you they won't show this document on Microsoft Word

      I bet you they'll (wipe retype)-ing well change it

      I bet you those (kiosk chime)-ing old Marketing idiots

      Will think it's a load of horse (fart)

      Next up... are you embarassed easily...? Don't worry, it's all part of growing up and being from Redmond...

  17. Simon Harris Silver badge

    So, no swear words allowed in Word...

    It's fortunate I don't use a speech recognition system then, or my Word documents would be full of them.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two words take your pick.


    NO Chance

    On Premises,

    Libre Office

    Install Kolab

    and still. - NOT Google

  19. JeffyPoooh

    Oh, so it's 2018 and MS Office Cloudy files aren't encrypted?

    Microsoft Office files stored in their cloud are not encrypted? They're in plain text? Ready for inspection? Seriously? [Taps calender to make sure it's not stuck.]

    If Microsoft is even capable of reviewing such Office files, that indicates there's a much bigger issue here than just the damn swearing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh, so it's 2018 and MS Office Cloudy files aren't encrypted?

      "..if Microsoft is even capable of reviewing such Office files, that indicates there's a much bigger issue here than just the damn swearing."

      An issue which existed all the time but it wasn't legal for MS to read all your files and follow your conversations in real time. Now it is. And it's not an accident.

      Anyone who believes this is just about foul language, is frankly an idiot: It's about legal excuse to "analyze" your data. A´la Facebook.

  20. DNTP

    If you can't say 'fuck'

    You can't say 'fuck Microsoft'.

    People in the medical field use technically correct words for body parts in a clinical context which of course Microsoft will completely fail to consider. I am reminded of a prospective prenatal medicine student from a 'traditional' Asian culture; he simply couldn't bring himself to use any word associated with the female reproductive system.

  21. TheMole

    kcufing sreknaw !

  22. Fihart

    We'll have no *unts here !

    In a grown-up world the movie "Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri" contains the word twice. Microsoft show themselves to be as infantile as their general conduct suggests.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so no message security in skype then

    I thought it had end to end encryption - apparently not!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so no message security in skype then

      If you really thought that MS would not be able to snoop on you via Skype, all I can say is that there's one born every minute as they say...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, skyping a request for a high strength long shaft wood screw from the Middlesex depot to be delivered to Scunthorpe might get flagged, as would snatching some shuteye after a long night? But asking for a Fanny pack would no doubt be fine. How would they handle the reference of having a fag? Or eating faggots and gravy?

    As much as they say they'd need a complaint before investigating, we all know it'll be too much work as a manual task so they'll automate it at which point they'll apply their understanding of words and forget their understanding of the English language is somewhat flawed.

  25. MsScullz

    When I saw this story I assumed it was an April Fool's Day joke but now I'm not so sure.

    It's all well and good to say, "they're not listening and will only investigate if someone complains" but it sounds a bit like all it takes is for an ex partner or other malicious party to dig out an email with the word 'sh*t' in it, and hey ho, you're banned from Microsoft services.

    As someone who swears like a sailor, and plays in private Xbox parties whilst drinking heavily and verbally abusing the other participants - with their consent, I might add - I am feeling very uneasy right now.

  26. Flakk


    [...]many Xbox games have attracted America's Entertainment Software Rating Board’s Adults Only 18+ rating covering games that “include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content and/or gambling with real currency.”

    Um, no. Game publishers avoid the AO rating like the plague as retailers typically refuse to stock AO-rated games. According to Wikipedia, the only Xbox game slapped with an AO rating was "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas", and only after the "Hot Coffee" controversy came to light. GTA:SA was subsequently pulled from store shelves until Rockstar could distribute game discs with the offending code removed.

  27. Zog_but_not_the_first

    Good old Office 2007

    I never thought I'd write that.

    1. elgarak1

      Re: Good old Office 2007


      The current news item only lists online services, like Office 365, Skype, Outlook...

      But remember that Microsoft wants to do "Windows as a service", and the current T&C already reflect that something like this will soon happen for anything you do on Windows, even if it is with the non-cloudy version of Office.

      At least for the Home Editions. The Enterprise Editions MAY not do it (I wouldn't trust them), but in order to get them you'll have to fork over more money.

      There's already an "Office 365 Germany". Costs more than normal Office 365, but supposedly (again, I won't trust them) only uses servers in Germany under review of a German law firm.


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