Valorant will start monitoring your voice chats from July 13

Riot Games, the developer of the free first-person shooter (FPS) Valorantwill begin monitoring player voice communications on July 13 (via PC Gamer). The game company says this is to help train the language models it will eventually use when evaluating player reports on all of its games.

Riot originally announced this change in April 2021 after updating its privacy policy. The new terms allow Riot to “record and potentially evaluate voice data when using Riot-owned voice communication channels” in an effort to combat hate speech and harassment via voice chat. Riot says it will analyze the logs when a player reports someone for abusive or offensive comments. This, in turn, should help the company determine if the reported player has violated its policies and take action accordingly.

Riot isn’t going to start evaluating player reports based on these records just yet — it’s using the information it collects to help build the beta version of the system it plans to roll out later this year. For now, Riot will only rate conversations from English speakers. Valorant players in North America. The only way to disable this system is to completely disable voice chat or use another communication tool, like Discord.

“We know that before we even think about extending this tool, we will need to be sure that it is effective, and if errors do occur, we have systems in place to ensure that we can correct any false positives (or negative by the way),” Riot notes in its announcement.

When this system is actually rolled out, Riot says it will not “actively monitor your live game communications” and “only potentially listen to and review voice logs” if you are flagged for disruptive behavior. He also adds that he will delete this information after resolving the situation, just as he does for reports made through his text chat systems. Even still, this is sure to raise privacy concerns for some gamers, as is the always-on Vanguard anti-cheat system that monitors your activity both in and apart from Valorant.

The planned reporting system is not the only way Valorant attempts to crack down on toxic players. Earlier this year, Riot started letting Valorant players add specific words or phrases to a “muted word list” which is supposed to help block abusive content in chat.

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