Video games are providing the infrastructure for extremists to organize: report

On Wednesday, Axios reported that experts are sounding the alarm about a rise of far-right extremism in video gaming communities.

"Gaming and game-adjacent platforms have grown into some of the largest entertainment industries in the world, leading to massive opportunities for recruitment and organizing by extremist groups," reported Peter Allen Clark. "A December 2021 report from the Extremism and Gaming Research Network (EGRN) found that innovative efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism in gaming spaces are 'nearly undetectable.'"

This rise comes in contrast with many existing forces in the Republican Party who disdain gaming culture, including Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) who has claimed gaming is emasculating.

"Extremism in games is 'a growing threat,' Alex Newhouse, the deputy director at the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, said in a Games Developers Conference talk last month," said the report. "'Games are becoming increasingly social ... those social hooks provide the structures and the infrastructure for extremists to organize, mobilize and spread their hateful and extreme ideologies,' Newhouse said. In games stretching from military shooters like Call of Duty to open creative environments like Roblox, extremist groups spread abusive messages and foster relationships."

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Complicating matters, data privacy protections in many games make it difficult to figure out how extremist ideology is spreading through gaming social networks. This is a similar issue to private groups within other social media companies.

"We know that the big the giant social media companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, have dedicated counterterrorism teams that are working on this day in day out," said Newhouse. "We also know that video games simply just often don't have the resources to stand up counterterrorism teams specifically, or don't have the expertise necessary to do so."

DISCLAIMER: The author of this article works in the video game industry and currently programs casino slot machines.