While President Trump zeroes in on the potential relationship between video games and violence in the wake of the shooting in Parkland, Florida, a report published in HuffPost last week argues that violence stems from video game users—not the games.
HuffPost delved into the world of Steam, an app owned by Valve Corporation that boats 125 million users, and its connection with a Virginia teen who shot his girlfriend’s parents in December. The publication found that users like the teen—who boast extreme rhetoric about hating transgender people and supporting a white revolution—were more than common in the community.
Steam combines features seen on Amazon Prime, Facebook, Slack, and Reddit, and allows users to chat, make friends, join groups, and buy and play games in one social and commercial hub. But it appears that the alt-right, a loose connection of white supremacists, has infiltrated the app to radicalize teens while they’re still at their most impressionable.
HuffPost found that a basic search in the groups tab for words and phrases like “Nazis” or “Jews” or “school shooting” brought up thousands of results, including thousands of user groups that support Nazism, school shootings, and racism—and Valve doesn’t seem to hasty to rid it’s app of the hate speech.
One of the more troubling aspects of the hate speech is that other users often think they’re just trolling, even though actual Nazis have confirmed they use humor to confuse impressionable internet users. While many users perceive the posts as jokes—and therefore not threatening—others take the comments dead seriously and become emboldened to act on their impulses.
So far, HuffPost’s research has garnered mixed reactions. Some say Steam shouldn’t be blamed if an incredibly small portion of its base becomes shooters, while others say the app should be held accountable.
This is valid, I remember listening to the "kids" talking to my son as he played video games and some were terrifying. I was relieved when he quit the online versions and just played games with his friends.
— Colleen Vawter (@colleenv123) March 8, 2018
This is a heavily biased view of a platform where also many good things happen.
— Johann Ertl (@IvanErtlov) March 9, 2018
So 30 or 40 users out of a user base of over 125 million, is a big problem? Less than 0.00005% of it's user base is a big problem? How do you think that compares with the general population? If only the world could be more like @steam_games .
— Dave Maple (@ADampDevil) March 9, 2018
Glad someone at a major publication wrote this up.
Steam support is partly to blame. Reporting groups such as these to Steam takes seconds, but it can take weeks or sometimes months for support to review all the complaints and take appropriate action.
— Abedsbrother (@Abedsbrother) March 9, 2018
These groups have zero visibility for 99% of steam users. Quit fear mongering and try to do something positive with your life. In the words of the great Barrett Brown, "this article is poorly written, and I object to that".
— fakequotes (@Spider_Jeru) March 9, 2018
Radicalizing like 10 people on steam. The rest are shit posting to be edgy and get a fear mongering response from people like you. Steam accounts are free so you can make as many as you want. Many of these are just joke accounts/groups
— Nuke the Nate (@nuclernate) March 8, 2018
Read the full story here.