Members of US Congress send letters to game companies about combating extremism in online gaming


According to a December report from the Anti-Defamation League, extremism in online gaming is on the rise for the fourth year in a row. That report from the ADL has led members of the US Congress to co-sign and send a letter to major game companies, including Activision-Blizzard, Microsoft, Electronic Arts, and Roblox among others, asking them what they do about such behavior.

The letter comes from several Democratic members of Congress, including Representatives Lori Trahan of Massachusetts and Katie Porter of California and Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. Questions asked in the letter include an explanation of how companies assess the harms of in-game harassment and extremism, details on in-game or external mechanisms that are in place, information on how reporting is handled, and the methods in which extremist content is found, either by discovery or algorithm. A response to these questions is asked to be returned by January 9th, but reporting does note that a reply is not compulsory.

“When we talk about holding technology companies accountable for what they’re pushing toward our kids, gaming companies must be a part of that conversation,” said Rep. Trahan.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt reasons that online multiplayer games are “more than media and entertainment outlets – they are social spaces where people of all ages connect,” and so he believes it is time for “players, parents, lawmakers, civil society, and communities to require more from the companies who profit off players’ interactions.”

The rise of extremism and harassment in online gaming has been a headline for quite some time, especially in recent months. The US Department of Homeland Security issued a large grant to research the trend, and our own Lawful Neutral columnist Andy took a close look at the rise of this behavior.

source: Axios via Kotaku
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