The First-Ever Xbox Transparency Report Reveals a Significant Increase in Bot Bans

The First-Ever Xbox Transparency Report Reveals a Significant Increase in Bot Bans

If you've recently had to deal with a rash of fake Xbox Live accounts, you're not alone. Microsoft has released its first-ever Xbox transparency report, and it's clear that the company is banning or otherwise restricting bots. In the first half of 2022, the company claims to have issued over 4.33 million "proactive enforcements" (that is, actions taken without user reports) against fake and compromised accounts. This represented 57 percent of the enforcement actions over the six-month period, and a ninefold increase in proactive efforts over the same period last year.

Previously, Microsoft focused most of its efforts on "reactive" enforcement (responses to gamer reports), with fewer overall actions. In the second half of 2021, the company issued 2.24 million reactive enforcements and only 461,000 proactive measures. Other infractions were few and far between. Only 199,000 proactive enforcement actions were taken against "adult" content, while fraud, harassment, and other abuses each received fewer than 100,000.

It should come as no surprise that the majority of Microsoft's 33.08 million user-initiated crackdowns targeted toxic players. Reports of cheating and other bad behavior (43 percent) and abusive communication (43 percent) dominated enforcement (46 percent). Only 11% of enforcements were related to user-generated content such as offensive nicknames and screenshots. Fortunately, there appear to be fewer incidents overall — Microsoft received 59.65 million reports in the second half of 2020.

If you believe Microsoft made a mistake, don't expect to win an appeal. Only 6% (about 9,250) of the more than 151,000 case appeals filed during the period resulted in reinstatements.

From now on, a new Xbox transparency report will be released every six months. There do not appear to be comparable reports for the comparable Nintendo and Sony online services. Still, if you've been wondering about Xbox Live's issues and whether Microsoft takes bots seriously, this may be good news.

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Jessica Vieira
Jessica Vieira
Jessica Vieira is ProductReviews's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology.