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After GPAHE Report, Roblox Deplatforms Patriot Front Content but YouTube Refuses to Take Action

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Following a report on far-right movements infiltrating the gaming industry, video game companies were given a rude awakening to the presence of extremism on their platforms.

In January, the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) published a report on how the far right has engaged in a propaganda campaign against “wokeness” in video games by spreading hate campaigns on gaming platforms, modifying existing games, and creating their own hate games.

One of these groups, the “Patriot Youth,” which regularly shares propaganda by the white supremacist Patriot Front on their Telegram channel, operates on the online multiplayer platform Roblox, which boasts over 70 million daily active users, 42 percent of which are under the age of 13. They would routinely spread Patriot Front and Active Club, a white supremacist transnational network of “sports clubs,” propaganda, and harass other players, on Roblox’s “experiences” (i.e., digital locations for players to congregate). Some of these experiences included respectful spaces for LGBTQ+ players and Roblox’s “Election Simulator,” where they campaigned for their own “party” on “white rights.” Experiences created by the Patriot Youth linked to the Patriot Front website.

Of the six Roblox experiences GPAHE identified belonging to the Patriot Youth, five are either temporarily (i.e., under review) or permanently deleted, while one remains live.

A racist modification, referred to as a “mod” in the gaming world, for the game Project Zomboid titled “Project Dindu,” turned zombies into Black people, who the player is encouraged to kill. Upon reporting the game to The Indie Stone, the game’s developer, the company investigated and ultimately filed Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedowns, which are meant to protect copyrighted material, on two YouTube videos featuring gameplay of the mod. YouTube deplatformed the videos, citing the copyright claim by The Indie Stone, but not for its hateful content. The uploader has since deleted the videos from their channel.

Meanwhile, YouTube continues to platform, and in some cases, monetize, extremist content. The Identitarian game studio Kvltgames, based in Austria and responsible for the violently hateful game Heimat Defender, which was deplatformed on Steam and contributed to the deplatforming of German Identitarian organization Ein Prozent on YouTube, released a new game on February 1st. Ein Prozent funded the first game and contributed to the second. The game, titled The Great Rebellion, remains live on Steam, an online video game vendor, and continues to spread on YouTube. “Synthetic Man,” who also published a video featuring Alex Jones’ conspiratorial game NWO Wars, shared The Great Rebellion gameplay during a livestream. The channel is monetized, meaning both YouTube and Synthetic Man profit off the hate Jones peddles. A channel called Patri.Art Gaming, part of the larger “Patriotic Arts” community, described on their website as “ethno-nationalist” and “reversing the tide of anti-white rhetoric,” hosted Roland Moritz, the lead developer of Kvltgames, to discuss and share gameplay of The Great Rebellion. The video was also shared by British neo-Nazi Mark Collett on his Telegram channel. Self-described “wignat” (i.e., white nationalists who use neo-Nazi rhetoric) streamer Nicholas R. Jeelvy, going by “The Gamer’s Block” on YouTube, posted a threepart series featuring the game. Dave Martel, who was featured in American Krogan’s racist mod “Grounded Commonwealth” for Bethesda’s Fallout 4, posted gameplay on his YouTube channel under the name “Dave Arcade.” 

The game is also being platformed on Twitch, a live-streaming platform designed mostly for gamers. Twitch has hosted extremist content in the past, even being the platform of choice for the Buffalo shooter to broadcast the murders of ten people in May 2022. German-language channels achseostwest (3,700 followers) and DerVagrant (1,200 followers) both hosted livestreams featuring the game. Achseostwest, in an attempt to avoid content moderation, streamed the game under the “Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches” tag. These tags are meant to help viewers choose what type of content they want to watch. Inexplicably, neither Heimat Defender nor The Great Rebellion appear on Twitch’s prohibited games list.

With extremists already taking over social media platforms, such as Twitter, video games have become the next frontier in the far right’s attempt at normalizing bigotry. As public support for far-right extremism continues to grow worldwide, including endorsements of Nazi-era rhetoric that immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country,” and widespread belief in the racist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, the gaming industry has so far failed to curtail the spread on their platforms.

794 467 Global Project Against Hate and Extremism
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