Right-wing extremists on Steam: US senator sends bad letter to Valve boss

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from Maximilian Hohm
US Senator Maggie Hassan has sent a letter to Valve denouncing Steam’s lax handling of political extremism and asking about Steam’s countermeasures. The company has not yet responded. Therefore, read below what the problem areas are, why they will probably continue to exist in the USA and what the situation is like in Germany.

Populism, and now also extremism, are political phenomena that have long spread to the digital world. Like-minded people can exchange ideas here and while there are many peaceful groups that use these opportunities to talk about common interests in a civilized manner, there are also platforms or parts of platforms where open political extremism is active. One of the platforms on which this is now noticeable seems to be Steam, although the platform is primarily used to distribute games.

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The Democratic US Senator Maggie Hassan therefore wrote an open letter to Valve and drew attention to the problem, which she believes is not being taken seriously enough. The letter states that “Steam has a significant number of users [hat]who display and support neo-Nazi, extremist, racist, misogynistic and other hateful language.” She also asked about the moderation policy for the platform, as she was able to easily find a lot of such content on the platform herself.

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Since she wrote the letter in her official capacity as a member of the Committee on Homeland Security, a response from Valve is also expected, which has not yet been forthcoming. The moderation of such content, the test procedures and much more should be clarified.

In the US, however, there is a problem. While companies like Valve can set their own codes of conduct that ban certain content on their own platform, the First Amendment guarantees Americans freedom of speech. This also includes the problem areas mentioned above, so that actually no more than one answer from Valve has to be given in order to comply with the legal minimum.

In Germany, however, Steam only seems to be fulfilling its responsibility to a limited extent. Some of the content from the screenshots by PC gamers can also be recreated in this country, so there is significant potential for improvement. This in turn shows that such problems should and must be addressed not by a company but by the legislature.

Source: PC gamer, Vice


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