US lawmakers take aim at gaming’s “harassment and extremism” problem

Expanding / Senator Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire) has asked Valve to address the prevalence of neo-Nazi accounts and content on the Steam platform.

US lawmakers are turning their attention to the gaming industry again. But this time, we’re not focusing on loot boxes, Hong Kong, or even video game violence. Instead, lawmakers want to know what gaming companies are doing about “player reports of encountering harassment and extremism in online games.”

The wording comes from a letter seven Democrats will send out later today, as reported by Axios last night. -California) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) have asked for more information about how these reports are handled and what data is collected. I’m here. about them and whether the company has “anti-harassment and anti-extremism safeguards”;

Those surveyed by Congress include Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Epic, Microsoft, PUBG Corp, Riot Games, Roblox, Sony, Square, Take-Two Interactive, Tencent, Ubisoft, and Valve. Nintendo is not on that list, as are other Asian gaming giants such as Bandai Namco, Sega, Capcom, and Nexon (not to mention Warner Bros. Interactive in the US). in us Maker Innersloth will also receive a copy of the letter, which we believe reflects the influence of the game rather than the size of the company.

Neo-Nazi problem on Steam?

Prior to that joint letter, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) said on Valve’s Steam platform that she “displays and supports neo-Nazis, extremists, racists, misogynists, and other hateful sentiments.” It also specifically targets the prevalence of “users who do”. In a letter sent to Valve and obtained by Vice, Hassan noted the “extensive” use of “terms and images commonly associated with neo-Nazi, extremist and racist ideologies” on Steam. It points out that

“Obvious, overt, pervasive symbols, visuals, and images associated with racial superiority, neo-Nazism, anti-Semitism, gender-based violence or harassment, homophobia, and other hateful and harmful ideologies; Exposure to words and phrases limits and deters many Steam users from participating in a community free of harassment, abuse and threatening behavior,” reads part of Hassan’s letter. “Furthermore, allowing an unhindered space in which racist, extremist, anti-Semitic, and other hateful ideologies can thrive online is a way to prevent violence in the offline physical space. allows for a very real threat of

Both letters cited recent reports from the Anti-Defamation League that 15% of gamers aged 10 to 17 and 20% of adult gamers will engage in “white supremacist ideology and exposed to themes”. The report also sees a sharp increase from 2021, as is the incidence of “identity-based harassment” against groups such as Jewish and Latino gamers.

The letter also came during the ongoing trial of David DePape, who allegedly attacked the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at his California home in October. , suggesting that it served as his entry point into the world of increasingly paranoid right-wing conspiracies about Pelosis.

Neither letter calls for a response from the company, but contains no explicit threat of follow-up action if neither request is ignored. , with respect to the threat of future hearings, the introduction of legislation, and/or executive branch action on these or other issues.

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