There are toxic people in games chat, and then there are people who use video gaming platforms as a ways to encourage extremism and domestic terrorism. That latter problem is one that’s prompting the US Department of Homeland Security to issue a grant of nearly $700K to a research group that’s looking to study the connection between extremist recruitment and video games.
The study is being conducted by a joint venture between the Middlebury Institute’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism (CTEC), games-related mental health non-profit Take This, and Logically, a company attempting to solve the problem of bad online behavior at scale. The research is spurred by the proliferation of extremism’s presence in online gaming spaces, particularly white nationalist and white supremacist groups that find themselves easily entrenched within gaming communities as they radicalize and recruit people into their violent movements.
According to the announcement, the study will hopefully build “a set of best practices and centralized resources for monitoring and evaluation of extremist activities,” help to develop training programs for community managers to monitor and prevent such activities, and learn just how widespread the problem is, particularly as the DHS believes game developers “have lagged in awareness of how extremists may attempt to exploit their games, and how their communities can be targeted for radicalization.”