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How the Far Right Exploded on Steam and Discord New research found that several of the major gaming platforms are hosting extremist activity, from racist livestreams to open support for neo-Nazis.

How the Far Right Exploded on Steam and Discord New research found that several of the major gaming platforms are hosting extremist activity, from racist livestreams to open support for neo-Nazis.

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_Mitternakt

Can confirm Warhammer discord full of European neo nazis


Retr0specter

Games Workshop made a parody of meathead masculinity, blind worship of an infallible god-king, and depicted humanity's future as a constant genocidal crusade, so a bunch of fascists unironically loved it. Who'da thunk it? Besides... everyone who isn't Games Workshop. (Assuming you mean 40k, naturally. Though I've heard Fantasy Warhammer has started resembling 40k more and more in recent editions.)


_Mitternakt

Talking about fantasy Warhammer actually but everyone always does at least some of the other. The empire are pretty fashy in fantasy Warhammer too, tbh. Though the white supremacists I've encountered on discord tend to play greenskins or chaos


asiwasdreaming

I absolutely love Warhammer Fantasy and 40k. I've read too many books to remember and played many of the games. I avoid tabletop for this exact reason.... and the smell.


_Mitternakt

Man I haven't played a tt Warhammer game since the 90s :/


mixplate

>The ISD investigated four platforms: Steam, Discord, DLive, and Twitch. It analyzed 24 far-right chat servers on Discord, 45 public groups associated with the far right on Steam, 100 far-right channels on DLive, and 91 channels and 73 videos on Twitch. These spaces were publicly accessible and the ISD did not look at closed channels, such as private chats or groups requiring passwords. The authors speculate these would likely be home to more coordinated radical groups. >The entrenchment of these communities varied across platforms. Of the four, it’s Steam that has the most severe problem. The ISD found a “well established, large network” of far-right communities, some dating back as far as 2016. “The content we encountered on Discord and Steam was more egregious than the content you would expect to easily find on mainstream social media platforms, but at a smaller scale than you would expect find on alt-tech platforms such as Gab and Telegram,” explains Jacob Davey, head of research and policy of far-right and hate movements at the ISD. “I think Steam in particular is noteworthy because the communities there are several years old, suggesting that the extreme right is well entrenched on the platform.” >The investigation found two Steam groups with links to violent terrorist organizations: one to the Nordic Resistance Movement, connected to bombings in Gothenburg in 2016 and 2017, and another to the Misanthropic Division, a Russian group active in Ukraine, Germany, and the UK. >...Steam’s particular problem is down to its laissez-faire approach to moderation. These groups were easy to find, with just the most basic keyword searches for racial slurs and Nazi terminology. >“On DLive, for example, we noticed several accounts got taken down over the course of our analysis, and similarly we hypothesize that the relatively small size of the communities we found on Discord and Twitch is indicative of proactive, if imperfect, moderation efforts,” says Davey. “On Steam I think the fact that these communities have been active for a number of years is a good indication that they have limited moderation against this sort of harmful activity.” >...Steam, famously, enforces only a very loose set of content guidelines. The company may fear inciting another Gamergate by tightening these restrictions, says Davey. But its moderation policy, he argues, seems out of step with that of other media platforms—and it may soon be forced to act regardless.


GMFPs_sweat_towel

Any ww2 game will have a subset of neo nazis in it. There is a strong wheraboo to neo nazi pipeline.


ThatEvanFowler

Shit, man. At this point, Splatoon 2 has a subset of neo nazis in it.


Sirdinks

I can attest to it being bad in the strategy gaming community


Retr0specter

Eeyeah... any game where you can commit total genocide, some people in its community will be into the idea completely unironically but pretend it's dark humor. More people than you'd think. I'm looking at you, Stellaris.


gerg_1234

Which sucks because I love Stellaris and will play as Fanatical Purifiers every once in a while. But there is a subset of people who love the idea unironically.


Sirdinks

You see it occasionally in the Warhammer 40k community. That one wierd guy who unironicaly likes the Imperium of Man ignoring the fact that it's probably one of the best examples of a dystopia out there lol


Mallardy

To be fair, for all the times WH40K blatantly suggests the setting is a crapsack world, the Imperium *is* clearly one of the *least* awful factions (along with the Tau) and their shitty fascism has a relatively reasonable underlying explanation.


Sirdinks

Yeah but being the least awful faction in 40k isn't really saying much when you look at the competition lol


magatard112

even morons in wow get in chat and try to promote trump and have been for years. never happened in the past with oboma or bush. if i had to guess, some get paid to troll around. they paid pastors in the past to promote trump, they have bots promoting him. its a scheme to make his base look bigger than they are so they gain more followers. why they called themselves the silent majority.


Bishop084

I just like the Wolfenstein games where I get to slaughter Nazis.


SlowVibeActual

Hey now, as a ww2 fanatic I resent this, only because Panzers are beautiful machines, but thats about as much respect as I give Nazis. Fuck them all.


dymdymdymdym

Take it from an old, crusty gamer. They've been in online gaming since the internet started becoming a household name in the 90s. The little shitstains are everywhere because disaffected white kids are super easy to radicalize into anything. Bigger digital platforms just gave them a bigger bullhorn to reach them with.


MC_Fap_Commander

Fellow old gamer and early internet adopter here. Online communities centered around gaming attract awkward young men (I was one, lol). These have *always* been fertile recruitment spaces for neo-Nazis. There's a reason Bannon jumped on politically weaponizing GamerGate.


KevinR1990

There was [a study](https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/12/why-people-join-isis/419685/) published in 2015 saying that ISIS recruited young, disaffected Muslim men the exact same way. For a lot of them, it was about getting respect from a society that they thought has denied them such, a longing for a sense of identity that they felt they lacked, or getting to live out a "badass" fantasy as an insurgent. And they too used gamer culture to recruit. The problem is all the noxious, meatheaded aggression that's been poured into our culture as the default male template, portrayed as not just normal and acceptable but outright laudable for boys to imitate. It's always been there, but it got really bad in the '90s and '00s and has only recently faced any real backlash -- a backlash that has been met with a predictable response. Chuck Palahniuk predicted where all of this was headed, and the greatest irony of his prediction is that his biggest fans turned out to be the very people he was mocking.


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correctingStupid

Careful! That's gamerz with a Z


restrained_imp

It seems to me that a lot of moderators on Steam are nazi or extreme right wing republican types as well. I've never seen a forum where moderators regularly engage posters. It's toxic. If you're a moderator, moderate,quit gabbing it up, besides no one cares about your lame ass opinions anyway.


sexisfun1986

Gamer gate was a massive point of recruitment.


Seemah

Came here to say this.


Tactical_OUtcaller

bUt wHAt AbOut eThiCS iN gAMiNg jOurNaliSm!!!


SavannahRedNBlack

Still super shitty.


RuDPu

Wasn't it League of Legends where that one Trump guy realized how easily you can manipulate the weak-minded, frustrated males you find online? Gamer gate was either the sign they needed to finally see how simple it is to take advantage of these frail minds or the first trial run of them proving how susceptible these simpletons were to the smallest form of control.


radiocate

Are you thinking of World of Warcraft and Steve Bannon, not League of Legends and "that one Trump guy?"


RuDPu

That's probably it. Some popular online game, some asshole.


Vegan_Harvest

I've only just recently started paying attention to discord stuff and it feels suspect even in manga subs. Honestly I suspect some of the reddit subs I'm on, though that's not new.


Solidus-Prime

Steam is bad. The Right has put many resources into attacking it with bots and other nefarious tactics. Has been happening for about 5 years now.


JunkInTheTrunk

R/conservative’s discord is over 40,000 and the largest right wing discord. The next insurrection attempt will be planned there.


-No_Rush-

The same thing could be said for literally any place where open discussion can happen. It happens on Facebook, Twitter, the chan's, comment sections for websites. The story here isn't that video games attract Nazis it's that fascism and racism is on the rise everywhere.


Bobby_Marks2

It’s been this way on the internet for decades. Online speech is not only unregulated/unmoderated in many places, but it’s a place where hateful/hurtful/damaging speech has few if any consequences. I’ve been online since the days of AIM being for preteens and teens what cell phones are today. Yes, extremism preys upon the young wherever it can - but young people will have a tendency to snap straight to extremes regardless of input, because they don’t understand the consequences of those ideas playing out in the real world.


-No_Rush-

Exactly. It's why I'm actually for stronger regulation of the internet. Yes that means that some freedoms we are all used to will be diminished, but the net gain for humanity and culture would be immense. We can't act like the internet is some wild west saloon where anything goes. It's a forum of ideas that needs to behave like the global space it is.


mixplate

What's different this time is that it's not just edgy kids fascinated by alternate ideologies - these are coordinated psy-ops designed to influence.


-No_Rush-

Except that the most effective of these groups are often literally just a bunch of people who's speech and ideas have zero restraint. Look a Qanon, it was a joke that through the power of unregulated speech has become a terrorist organization in all but name. There of course is an element of foreign and domestic manipulation, but that too is possible due to just how unregulated the internet is. Edit: I do agree with you though OP I just feel that the issue will never end until things on the internet are policed more effectively.


SavannahRedNBlack

Nope, give censors an inch and they will take a mile.


-No_Rush-

So what's your plan then? Just let it keep being like this? Because at some point it's gonna reach a critical mass. The internet is the number one place that disinformation spread.


SavannahRedNBlack

It isn't my job to come up with a plan to mollify the concerns of those who live in fear.


-No_Rush-

Lmao I'm not living in fear my guy. I'm simply being realistic. The internet needs better regulation and should be viewed as the global place it is. You wouldn't tolerate the things that happen on the internet in any public setting so why should we tolerate it on the most public of setting?


SavannahRedNBlack

there is no answer- it is simply a trade off. Sacrifice individual freedom (freedom to associate and speech) to gain some sort of nebulous concept of security. Benjamin Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."


-No_Rush-

Yawn. That quote gets thrown around as if Benjamin Franklin wasn't also a strong advocate for a polite and orderly society. The ability to post whatever and say whatever is not in an context an "essential" freedom. We need to treat the internet as we would any other public place or place of discussion. I'm certain that less terrorism and illegal nonsense will not impact the experience of all good people.


SavannahRedNBlack

I think we gonna have to agree to disagree on this issue.


Mallardy

> Benjamin Franklin once said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." He was taking about the "liberty" of the state to tax the rich, with the "safety" being from attacks by the wealthy attacking the legitimacy of the state. You're citing a quote which is closer to being on the *opposite* side from your position.


Retr0specter

Yeah, gamer here. You're right, but also wrong? Fascism is on the rise everywhere, but it's especially prevalent (or at least more transparent) in the gaming community. Capital-g Gamers are notoriously hostile towards women, POC, and the LGBT community, and it's a reputation they damn well earned. Death and rape threats have been normalized, along with every slur out there, not to mention the doxxing, SWATing, and honest-to-god stalking. And if memory serves, Stormfront made a *concentrated push* to recruit vulnerable teens over Xbox Live in the mid to late 2000s - they typed up a digital guidebook on how to do it and everything. Few communities are really safe, yes, but the far right has its claws *really* deep in gaming.


CheerfulSunsinger

I written off their forums years ago.


MikeyIfYouWanna

I remember stumbling upon a reading group in VR chat when that was popular. I didn't realize as fast as I probably should have, but they were reading out a collection of Hitler speeches.


Johnnyshagz

If it goes to civil war I feel like a lot of these “soldiers” will pack up and go home after seeing that their dead compatriots do not respawn.


RuDPu

I think January 6th shows that this isn't something we can rely on. Their fragile egos being threatened by reality substitutes for belief in the cause way too well.


Johnnyshagz

Although, after all the chaos they caused, they kinda gave up and ran away on Jan 6th.


orange_drank_5

They've always been around, any place that caters to rejects will have at least a few open neo-nazis. One hopes that society would find a way to encourage their better qualities (think simcity or transport tycoon) than their bad qualities (killing simulators). Personally I see it as a direct reflection of the gaming industry: publishers that turn their games into slot machines and gambling encourage the bad behavior which nazis thrive in. If we still had a diverse amount of high-quality videogames catering to different groups, rather than 2-3 online-only gambling service outlets, the sort of people who become nazis would be too distracted by something else to evolve into nazis in the first place. I'm serious - what happens to a man when a videogame takes away his money with a bad bet? They get hurt, angry and cynical. The exact conditions needed for them to start looking up the last names of company executives, and making conspiracy theories based on that. Which is how many original Nazis in Wiemar Germany.


Denttalen

Disgusting and stay the hell away from the gaming community!


SmashBonecrusher

Which is why I ditched discord!( in addition to the fact that the whole damn thing is completely arbitrary and inexplicable)


GroundbreakingFig897

Makes consistent sense with the amount of misogyny found in online games.


autotldr

This is the best tl;dr I could make, [original](https://www.wired.com/story/far-right-took-over-steam-discord/) reduced by 89%. (I'm a bot) ***** > How widespread is the problem? How do extremists use games? And, of course, a point of morbid curiosity: What games do extremists play? > Investigating the online strategies of the far right, the ISD has found that several major gaming platforms play host to extremist activity-from racially abusive livestreams to open support for neo-Nazi terrorists. > "The content we encountered on Discord and Steam was more egregious than the content you would expect to easily find on mainstream social media platforms, but at a smaller scale than you would expect find on alt-tech platforms such as Gab and Telegram," explains Jacob Davey, head of research and policy of far-right and hate movements at the ISD. "I think Steam in particular is noteworthy because the communities there are several years old, suggesting that the extreme right is well entrenched on the platform." ***** [**Extended Summary**](http://np.reddit.com/r/autotldr/comments/p3fxlh/how_the_far_right_exploded_on_steam_and_discord/) | [FAQ](http://np.reddit.com/r/autotldr/comments/31b9fm/faq_autotldr_bot/ "Version 2.02, ~592236 tl;drs so far.") | [Feedback](http://np.reddit.com/message/compose?to=%23autotldr "PM's and comments are monitored, constructive feedback is welcome.") | *Top* *keywords*: **game**^#1 **group**^#2 **ISD**^#3 **Steam**^#4 **extremist**^#5


Fuzzy_Cancel4831

Based steam