WASHINGTON D.C. — Lawmakers want answers after a new report documents an increase in hate and extremism in online gaming. A group in Congress is asking gaming companies what they’re doing about the findings of the Anti-Defamation League report.
“We wanted to give a place, safe space, not safe space, but safe place or as all-inclusive group setting where people can just come and enjoy themselves and have fun,” DC Gaming Group Co-Host Jonathan Smith said.
But that’s not always the case, according to the report from the Anti-Defamation League. It says four out of five adults experienced harassment in online multiplayer games. The ADL reports exposure to white supremacy is also on the rise, more than doubling from 2021 to 2022.
That hit home with Massachusetts Congresswoman Lori Trahan. She is also a mom.
“It was difficult to read,” Trahan said.
She and a group of lawmakers sent letters to more than a dozen gaming companies. They ask questions about how the platforms deal with and combat these behaviors.
“We have to send a strong message to the companies that both chambers of Congress are watching what they’re doing or not doing to prioritize safety for gamers,” she said.
The Democrat explained she’s received answers from some of the companies. Her office is still examining them.
In response to the report, the Entertainment Software Association said the industry goes “to great lengths” to create “a healthy, safe and inclusive environment.” a statement points to “clear codes of conduct that set expectations for acceptable behavior,” “serious consequences” for those “who engage in harmful behaviors” and ways players can report any of this.
Trahan believes solutions start with transparency.
“There are parents now as a result of the ADL report, as a result of these letters and shining a bright light on it, they’ve got questions,” she added.
Trahan told us these letters are just the first step. She hopes hearings on Capitol Hill and possible legislation might also be in the future.
FULL STATEMENT FROM ENTERTAINMENT SOFTWARE ASSOCIATION:
As an entertainment industry, we strive to create fun and engaging experiences for all players and go to great lengths to ensure that our player communities can be enjoyed in a healthy, safe and inclusive environment. We do not tolerate actions by bad actors seeking to use our games as a platform to propagate inappropriate messages.
The industry has clear codes of conduct that set expectations for acceptable behavior, and players who engage in harmful behaviors, such as hate speech or calls for violence, face serious consequences, including having their accounts terminated and, or, being referred to law enforcement, as warranted. The industry also encourages players to report disruptive content and behavior when they see it, which is one of the most effective tools in curbing bad actors. Advanced technologies, expert human moderators and tools that empower parents and players to manage gameplay also contribute to ensuring safer and more positive experiences for all players.
We are continually evaluating and improving our processes and policies, but what remains unchanged is our goal to create positive, safe and inclusive spaces for everyone.
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