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Minecraft 1.19.1 Released with Controversial Chat Reporting Feature After Month Delay

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(Image credit: Mojang Studios/Microsoft)

The first patch release for the 1.19 Caves & Cliffs update to the Java Edition of Minecraft was released , after being delayed one month from its initial release date of 28 June.

The main focus of the 1.19.1 update is a new chat reporting feature, which has ended up being highly controversial in the Minecraft community.

The player reporting feature allows users to report multiplayer chat messages to developer Mojang, who are able to issue permanent bans from online gameplay if a message breaches the game's terms of service.

The feature arrives alongside a change to how messages are sent in multiplayer. All messages are now cryptographically signed by the client before being sent to the server so that the messages are verifiable.

As stated in an FAQ, the type of behavior that will get someone suspended or banned is hate speech, bullying, harassment, sexual solicitation, or making true threats to others. Early testing of the feature included 'profanity' and 'violence' as valid reporting reasons, but these were removed in a subsequent development build.

Criticism around the new feature revolves largely around concern that players will be have their accounts banned for messages that have been taken out of context and privacy concerns about private chat messages now being able to be read by Mojang staff if reported.

There system has also been shown to be exploitable, with players being able to misconstrue what another player has responded to. The exploit dubbed "gaslight" involves a player sending a private chat message to themself (which to the chat reporting system is indistinguishable from a public message), and then asking an unrelated question in chat. The private message and the response to the question are then reported, where to the reporting system it looks as if the response is to the private message.

Apart from the chat reporting addition, the update also includes changes to the allay mob. Allays can now be duplicated by feeding one an amethyst shard while it dances to jukebox music.

The next major update to Minecraft, 1.20, is still yet to be announced.