The developers of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive added a new Text Filtering option on Thursday, which allows players to automatically block all obscenities in chat. The option has been a long time coming, since up until now players have had very few options for automatically filtering out hate speech, abuse, or swearing beyond completely disabling the chat to avoid profanity and abuse. The new profanity filter is enabled by default, though it can be turned off for those who wish to remove it.
Today we're shipping a new communication setting called Text Filtering, which cleans up offensive UGC within CS:GO. Details can be found here: https://t.co/zDG7pz2S3J
— CS:GO (@CSGO) June 12, 2020
Profanity filters have existed in multiplayer games for over 20 years now. In the past several years, leaps in AI technology have increased the effectiveness of text filters, though it is currently unclear how advanced Valve’s new filter will be. It seems that anytime companies try to filter profanity from in-game chat, players always find a way to say something offensive.
The new filter is a follow up to the communication abuse update added in February. On February 6th, Valve released a communication update allowing players to control settings related to in-game communication. Since the update, players have been able to mute specific players in both voice and text chat, without having to indiscriminately mute their entire team. The communication abuse system also auto-mutes players who have a significant number of communication abuse reports against them.
Valve is the latest company to take concrete action against abusive chat in their games. Earlier on Thursday, Epic and Psyonix also announced that they have increased their enforcement of the Rocket League hate speech policy.
Rocket League will always strive to be a welcome and safe place for all players. We are committed to fighting racism and discrimination both in and outside of the game. Read our blog for more details: https://t.co/5NbnJW54Y3 pic.twitter.com/Eg8BjEVCq3
— Rocket League (@RocketLeague) June 11, 2020
The issue of toxicity in video games has been an ongoing battle for games companies. In 2018, a number of companies including Riot, Blizzard, Twitch, and many more, joined together to create the Fair Play Alliance whose stated goal is to create “a world where games are free of harassment, discrimination, and abuse, and where players can express themselves through play.” Up until now, however, companies have taken very little concrete action to curb abuse in their games. So it is good to see companies updating policies and features to help players protect themselves from harassment.
The addition of Text Filtering to CS:GO has been received positively by most players, with many players requesting that similar filters be added to other Valve titles such as DOTA 2 and Team Fortress 2. Although the filter will not solve all the toxicity in CS:GO, and it will do very little for voice chat toxicity, it is still a step in the right direction.