Microsoft has responded after a report that that they had suspended a cop's account on Xbox Live for posting a picture of a police officer holding a flag, and then telling him not to post police or military pictures to avoid a ban.
The officer initially posted to Facebook on Thursday about his account being banned for his Gamerpic, which showed a police officer holding a folded flag.
In the initial post, the officer said, “So last night Xbox Live decided to enact enforcement for having this as my gamer pic. I tried to find out which rule it violated with a customer service representative. That met with the last message he sent me basically stating to avoid this don’t post any photo of police or military related to avoid this further.”
A screenshot of a conversation with a Microsoft customer service rep said that not only is it impossible for the officer to appeal his suspension, but that he should avoid posting any police or military pictures to avoid a future ban.
“Thank you for your kind understanding. I really understand that you want some clarifications with regards on your suspension about a police holding a flag. However, you can only get in touch with the Enforcement team by submitting a case review on them. Since your suspension is only 24 hours, You are not able to file any case review with regards on the Gamerpic about the police. I do recommend that you refrain from putting any police or military photos to avoid this happening again.”
At the time we initially covered it, a Microsoft spokesman said that they would look into it.
A spokesman with Microsoft told Blue Lives Matter that the officer was not actually banned for the image of the officer, but another image on his profile saying, "Images like the one described by this user would not be removed from our service or subject to enforcement action.
"Every image uploaded to our service is subject to our Code of Conduct and may be reviewed for compliance. Images violating that code can result in enforcement action against the user’s account, which may prevent any images from being uploaded for a short period."
"Our investigation found that this user had previously uploaded a different image not in compliance with our Code of Conduct, and the resulting enforcement action prevented the user from uploading further images for a short time."
The Microsoft spokesman failed to address their customer service agent telling the officer not to use police or military pictures.
I contacted the officer involved and he said that he had not been contacted by anybody at Microsoft about the situation. When I told him Microsoft's response, he said that prior to the suspension, he was going through his pictures, and accidentally selected one picture as his Gamerpic.
Once he accidentally selected the picture, he immediately changed it to the picture of the officer with the flag.
He says that the other picture was only up for one second, but it seems that the picture still went through a review even though it wasn't in use and nobody saw it. With Microsoft failing to communicate with him about the suspension or allowing him to appeal it, there was no way to know that he was suspended for a picture that he wasn't using.
The officer provided us with a copy of the other image which shows a woman in a thong with an American Flag. The image is possible NSFW so we are not displaying it directly - you can see the full image at THIS LINK.
It's good to see that the ban was for a picture that wasn't being used, rather than the picture of the officer. Despite unverified comments on social media, there's no reason to believe that Microsoft is banning people for police or military pictures. Although, we certainly would have liked for Microsoft to address the comment by their customer service agent.
UPDATE: The officer was finally contacted by Microsoft on Friday night. He says that they told him that they were reviewing their ban process, and that they support all law enforcement and military. They also said that the customer service representative involved would at least get some re-training.
What do you think about Microsoft's response? We'd like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.