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Players were using the alleged shooter’s photo and name.
Valve, the company behind the hugely popular PC gaming platform Steam, has taken down the profiles of more than 100 users honoring the man who allegedly attacked two New Zealand mosques on Friday, killing 50.
According to Kotaku, dozens of users of the PC gaming service offered tribute to the alleged attacker, who also apparently wrote a white supremacist manifesto. Some of the deleted profiles used the suspect’s name and picture. One user apparently displayed a GIF of the shooter’s Facebook Live stream.
According to the Verge, the platform removed these profiles after Kotaku contacted Valve for comment. Still, “hundreds of pages continue to nod towards past mass shooters including perpetrators of massacres in Charleston, Isla Vista and Parkland and of the 2011 mass killing in Norway,” Kotaku wrote.
Even though Valve’s rules and guidelines for Steam users prohibit the use of any racist content or threats of violence, Kotaku says the platform has mostly taken a hands-off approach toward moderating content. However, in 2018 Valve began removing certain user groups from the platform after reporting from Motherboard, Huffington Post, and the Center for Investigative Reporting found multiple groups espousing white supremacy and glorifying school shooters.
Earlier in March, users were upset when Valve opted to remove a game called Rape Day, in which players could “verbally harass, kill, and rape women.”
The New Zealand shooting was streamed on Facebook Live, then shared on YouTube, Reddit, and Twitter. The social media platforms all attempted to respond to the attack, removing videos and profiles associated with the alleged shooter and the event. Even Reddit, which prides itself on promoting “free speech,” banned video of the shooting.
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Stéphanie Fillion is a French-Canadian journalist covering politics and foreign affairs in Montreal, Canada. She has worked for Radio-Canada in Vancouver and was a San Paolo fellow at La Stampa in Turin. In 2015, she won the Eu-Canada Young Journalist Award. She holds an M.A. in Journalism, Politics and Global Affairs from Columbia Journalism School and a B.A. in Comparative Politics, History and Italian Studies from McGill University. Her work appeared in outlets such as Quartz, Vice News, Ipolitics, and PassBlue.