Roblox Deplatforms Hate-Infested “Election Simulator” Experience After GPAHE Reporting

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Earlier this month, the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) revealed a worrying level of hate and violent speech directed at marginalized communities in Roblox’s “Election Simulator” experience, a virtual location within Roblox that allowed players to “run for president” in-game as a Democrat, Independent, or Republican candidate by making their case on a debate “stage.” Following GPAHE’s reporting, Roblox removed the experience and placed the page “under review.” 

Election Simulator was visited more than 6.2 million times by Roblox Users since its creation on August 14, 2019, until Roblox de-platformed it on March 21, 2024. Roblox users have aired their grievances about Election Simulator on forums like the Roblox subreddit, such as one post decrying sexism by users within the experience. Comments on the post also pointed to the experience’s toxic player-base, saying it’s “full of incels” and “misguided kids.” In the month leading up to the Super Tuesday primary elections on March 5th, GPAHE found numerous users campaigning as real-world politicians, and posting violently racist content like “TND,” short for “total n****r death,” dangerously homophobic rhetoric suggesting users “become militants” and “eliminat[e] the LGBTQ community,” dressing up their avatars as Adolf Hitler, and even suggesting that the United States adopt National Socialism as its governing ideology.

Two players use Election Simulator to campaign for National Socialism in the United States (Source: Roblox)

These issues aren’t new, as GPAHE documented in a prior investigation on how the far-right co-opts gaming spaces. GPAHE found the Patriot Front-affiliated youth chapter “Patriot Youth” using the experience to campaign on extreme racism. Patriot Youth also created their own experiences to spread white supremacist propaganda, which Roblox only deplatformed after GPAHE alerted them to their activities.

The new landing page for Roblox’s Election Simulator, labeled as “under review” by the website and inaccessible to play (Source: Roblox)

Despite its use in the preparation and perpetuation of terrorist attacks, gaming has been recieved far less attention than social media platforms as a space for online radicalization, particularly amongst youth. The deplatforming of the elections simulator is an important step in cleaning up Roblox so that it does not serve as a free campaigning space for bigots.

768 432 Global Project Against Hate and Extremism
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