Sony has debunked widespread rumours that it will be actively recording and moderating conversations in private groups with a new PlayStation voice chat recording feature. The company introduced the feature in its recent 8.0 update and it is having to deal with the rumours already.
Catherine Jensen, Sony’s vice president of global consumer experience, admits in a blog post that the company “should have more clearly explained why this function was being rolled out.”
Jensen says Sony will not be actively listening in on voice chats when the feature launches with the PS5 in November 2020. “Its sole purpose is to help in reporting of inappropriate behaviour, including actions that violate our Community Code of Conduct. Please note that this feature will not actively monitor or listen in on your conversations – ever – and it’s strictly reserved for reporting online abuse or harassment,” she said.
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The feature will, however, record the last five minutes of any private voice chat on a rolling basis, according to Sony. That means users can submit up to a 40-second clip for Sony’s moderation team to review if they encounter a violation. The submission will include 20 seconds of behaviour they find offending and 10 seconds before and after the selected segment to provide context.
Jensen says the report can be submitted directly via the console. Then, the Consumer Experience team will review and moderate the content, and take action where necessary.
Sony adds that users will not have the option of opting-out of the voice chat recording. This is because Sony wants “all users to feel safe when playing with others online, not just those who choose to enable it.”
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