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Valorant will record your voice chats in an attempt to curb toxic behavior

Riot Games will begin monitoring “North American/English-only” voice communications in Valorant beginning July 13 as it expands its effort to reduce toxicity and player harassment in the popular first-person shooter.

Riot laid the foundation for this move back in April 2021 when it made an update to its privacy policy with new terms that would allow it to “record and potentially evaluate voice data when using Riot-owned voice comms channels.” However, for now, the company says that it won’t be using these voice evaluations to assess any behavior reports, promising that it’s simply a background launch designed to aid it in training language models as it continues to perfect the technology. Players should expect a beta launch sometime later in the year.

“We know that before we can even think of expanding this tool, we’ll have to be confident it’s effective,” Riot said in the statement. “And if mistakes happen, we have systems in place to make sure we can correct any false positives (or negatives for that matter).”

Given that most games don’t monitor voice chats, it’s reasonable that some players could be concerned about Riot impeding their privacy. However, once the feature goes into full effect in the future, the company claims that it won’t “actively monitor” your voice communications. Instead, it will only seek out and replay your conversations as a reaction to reported voice channel abuses. Additionally, you’ll be notified if and when your voice logs are reviewed, at which point the data will be deleted and you’ll find out whether or not you’re receiving any kind of disciplinary action on your account.

Though it may feel like a big step forward in the fight against hate speech and harassment, this isn’t the first thing Riot has done to fight back against player toxicity. It overhauled its penalty system for text-based offenses in 2021, then it added the ability for players to add specific words to a muted words list earlier this year.

Valorant is available now for PC.

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