Microsoft admits it banned more than 7 million Xbox live accounts in 6 months

Master Chief on the cover of Halo Infinite
(Image credit: 343 Industries)

Since the beginning of 2022, Microsoft has banned over 7 million Xbox accounts for breaching its community guidelines. 

It’s not all smooth sailing for those lucky enough to be gaming on the Xbox Series X. As Microsoft released its first Digital Transparency Report, it turns out that Microsoft may have been a bit trigger-happy. 

From January to June 2022, Microsoft banned a total of 7.21 million Xbox accounts. 4.78 million of these bans were proactive, and 2.53 million were reactive. This is more than the total number banned during the entire year of 2021, which was 6.72 million. 

The main difference between proactive and reactive is that proactive banning comes before someone has reported an account, and reactive comes post-report. You would think that with the growing number of users on Xbox Live, the statistic for reactive bans would increase. But this isn't the case.

Bad reputation  

It turns out that proactive bans have increased tenfold since the start of the year. At a first glance, this may seem like an overreaction or even a mistake on Microsoft's part, but actually, it's a good decision. Unfortunately, Xbox Live has garnered a rather unfair reputation over the last decade for being an extremely toxic platform. 

In reality, everywhere on the internet is pretty toxic. While Xbox Live is no angel, it’s no different from other platforms that rely on online user interaction. However, this hasn’t stopped the stereotype from spreading. 

Whether it be a mass culling of accounts or the implementation of chat filters to combat harassment . Microsoft is always trying to make its platform a better place for everyone and in doing so combating this unfair stereotype. So this recent turn of events is completely in line with its previous attempts of refreshing the platform.

An Xbox Series X controller held in two hands

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Chikena)

Good news 

It turns out that many of the accounts proactively banned were clearly disruptive to the platform. A further breakdown of Microsoft’s report sees 199,000 proactive bans enacted due to sexual content, 54,000 for bullying or harassment, and 87,000 for fraud. Even if no one reported these accounts, no one will miss them any time soon. 

Any attempt to make a platform nicer to engage with is a step in the right direction. While you can see proactive bans as unfair due to no reports against them being made, Microsoft may actually need to increase this mindset in the future. 

Apparently, the accounts banned due to phishing, piracy, and account tampering were 100% the result of Microsoft working proactively and not reactively responding to players reporting issues.

With fewer players reporting issues with accounts, Microsoft has to step up its game to keep it clean. Otherwise, the platform would be left to slowly fester and become more toxic. Just because players aren’t reporting issues doesn’t mean there aren’t any. 

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.