Valorant will start monitoring your voice chats starting July 13th

Riot Games, the developer behind the free first-person shooter (FPS) Valorant, will start monitoring players’ voice communications on July 13th (via PCGamer). The game company says it’s to help train the language models that it will eventually use when evaluating player reports across all its games.

Riot initially announced this change in April 2021 after making an update to its privacy policy. The new terms give Riot permission to “record and potentially evaluate voice data when using Riot-owned voice comms channels” with the purpose of combatting hate speech and harassment over voice chat. Riot says it will analyze recordings when a player reports someone for abusive or offensive comments. In turn, this should help the company determine whether the reported player violated its policies and take action accordingly.

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

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

When this system is actually rolled out, Riot says that it won’t “actively monitor your live game comms” and will only “potentially listen to and review voice logs” if you’re reported for disruptive behavior. It also adds that it will delete this information after it resolves the situation, much like it does for reports made over its text-based chat systems. Even still, it’s bound to raise some players’ concerns surrounding privacy, much like the always-on Vanguard anti-cheat system that monitors your activity both in and outside of Valorant.

The planned reporting system isn’t the only way Valorant is attempting to crack down on toxic players. Earlier this year, Riot started letting Valorant players add specific words or phrases to a “muted words list” that’s supposed to help block out abusive content in chat.

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