July 30, 2023 | NYT

Video games, the new backdrop for the Russian information war

Video games such as Minecraft and Roblox, along with adjacent discussion platforms like Discord and Steam, are becoming the new backdrop for the Russian information war. In these popular virtual ecosystems, some players have been found to recreate Russian battles, use pro-Kremlin symbols and spread propaganda justifying the Russian invasion and blaming the West for the war.

ISD’s Head of Research and Policy for Far-right and Hate Movements, Jacob Davey, was interviewed by the New York Times on the utility of Minecraft and other video games for pro-Kremlin actors looking to influence vulnerable young people, especially those that may have already been seeking to discuss fringe ideologies.

“We know that hostile actors who are seeking to shape minds and influence people are opportunistic […] They go where they think they might find a receptive audience, and they adopt a wide range of tech platforms to push their messaging out.”