×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hate Groups Are Using Online Games To Recruit Teens (Report)

Some extremist groups are using multiplayer games and in-game chat functions as a way to recruit new members, NPR reports.

It’s happening not only in-game, but via platforms like Discord and Reddit, as well. Some recruitment occurs during game livestreams on Twitch and YouTube, and even some harassment campaign planning occurs via these platforms.

Unicorn Riot published chat logs from Discord last year which revealed plans for the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally from white supremacists, according to NPR.

So why are the groups taking to gaming spaces for new members? According to Joan Donovan of Data and Society, a research institute, white supremacists have a history of being innovative with using online spaces for recruitment. And, Donovan says that first-person shooter games are one space to find angry young men, according to NPR.

“I saw how these groups communicated and spread out to other spaces online with the intent of not telling people specifically that they were white supremacists, but they were really trying to figure out what young men were angry about and how they could leverage that to bring about a broad-based social movement,” Donovan said.

While gaming platforms like Steam often ban hate speech, it’s a challenge to find the hate groups with so many users. As a result, many platforms rely on users to report hateful speech.

Popular on Variety

Greg Boyd of the law firm Frankfurt Kurnit pointed out that Microsoft, PlayStation, and Steam host 48 million, 70 million, and 130 million active users, respectively, every month.

“That’s the populations of Spain, France, and Russia,” Boyd said. “And then imagine that you’re monitoring all of their text chat…all of their voice chat, in literally every language, dialect, and subdialect spoken in the world.”

More Gaming

  • Green Day Beat Saber music pack

    Beat Saber Gets Green Day Music Pack, 360-Degree Levels

    Coinciding with Green Day’s performance at the Game Awards, Facebook announced late Thursday that the popular virtual reality game Beat Saber is getting a Green Day music pack. The 6-song pack is slated to go live at midnight, and players will simultaneously get access to Beat Saber’s long-awaited 360-degree gameplay. The Green Day music pack [...]

  • Ghost of Tsushima Trailer

    'Ghost of Tsushima' New Trailer Drops at The Game Awards

    A new full trailer for developer Sucker Punch’s “Ghost of Tsushima” is finally here. The latest substantial footage of the samurai game dropped at The Game Awards Thursday night, marking the first real look at the PS4 exclusive since Sony released a short teaser during its State of Play earlier this week. “Ghost of Tsushima” [...]

  • Ultimate Rivals The Rink - Apple

    Apple Arcade Launches NHL Game That Lets You Put Athletes From Other Sports on the Ice

    Now you can see NBA superstar LeBron James facing off against NHL great Wayne Gretzky in a fast-paced hockey game. In an innovative fantasy mashup for sports gaming fans, Apple Arcade is launching “Ultimate Rivals: The Rink,” a hockey game that lets you pit NHL players against athletes from other sports. The game is available [...]

  • Xbox Series X: Next-Gen Console Revealed

    Microsoft Reveals Next-Gen Console, Xbox Series X, at The Game Awards

    The next-generation Xbox console is officially called the Xbox Series X, and will be released over next year’s holiday season, Microsoft revealed during Thursday night’s The Game Awards. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer took the stage at Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater to make the big reveal about the project previously known as Project Scarlett, and [...]

  • The Game Awards

    How to Watch the 2019 Game Awards

    The Game Awards will be taking place on Thursday night and, fittingly, there are plenty of ways to stream the event online. The whole show will be streaming live starting at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET from Los Angeles’ Microsoft Theater on The Game Awards’ YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch pages. Additionally, for the first [...]

  • Riot Games

    Riot Games to Pay $10 Million to Settle Gender-Discrimination Lawsuit

    Riot Games, developer of “League of Legends,” will fork over at least $10 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of women employees alleging the company’s “bro culture” resulted in systemic gender discrimination. Terms of the settlement in the case, reached in August, were revealed in court documents filed last week in California [...]

  • Dreamscape_Dragon vr

    Dreamscape Gets ‘DreamWorks Dragons Flight Academy’ VR Experience (EXCLUSIVE)

    Location-based virtual reality (VR) startup Dreamscape has teamed up with DreamWorks Animation to launch a new “How to Train Your Dragons” experience at its flagship Westfield Century City VR center in Los Angeles later this month. The 11-minute “DreamWorks Dragons Flight Academy” experience allows up to 8 participants to hone their dragon-flying skills together, and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content