August 12, 2021 | WIRED UK

Far-right gamers on Steam and Discord, an uncensored community

ISD’s research into the coalescence of gaming and far-right extremism in the publication series Gamers Who Hate: An Introduction to ISD’s Gaming and Extremism Series, is the focus of an article by the news outlet Wired.

To understand the landscape of extremist activity on gaming platforms like Steam, Discord, DLive and Twitch, Wired spoke with ISD’s Jacob Davey and Pierre Vaux.

“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,” Jacob said.

While explicitly racist and extremist games exist, ISD research suggests that far-right extremists are playing popular games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which are freely available and widely played. Instead, gaming platforms work as hubs for gamers (with an average age of 15) to come together and share extremists content that elsewhere is illegal but overlooked by the lax approach to content moderation of gaming platforms like Steam.

“[Steam] is essentially acting as a community hub for people who are affiliated with the extreme right to come together, to socialise, to communicate, to have fun with their friends in a relatively safe space, but also to discuss extreme right-wing ideology, and some of those points are then being used to off ramp people onto the website of extremist organisations or other social media pages,” Jacob said.

Jacob Davey is Head of Research & Policy for Far-Right and Hate Movements at ISD.

Pierre Vaus is a Research Manager at ISD.