TR Member Perks!

Steam, the most popular PC gaming distributor on the net, is catching a bit of heat for blocking popular torrent sites, and in the case of KickassTorrents, erasing them entirely from their users’ chatlogs. Not only are users now unable to send KickAssTorrents URLs through chat, but entire messages cannot be received at all if they include even one of the torrent site’s URLs.

While KickassTorrents seems to be the only torrent site so far whose URL is being erased from Steam private messages, some other torrent site URLs can be published but still can’t be accessed. URLs such as can be posted, but clicking the URL brings you to a page saying the link was blocked for “potentially malicious” content. Meanwhile, other torrents sites such as The Pirate Bay can be linked to without any issues.

Link Blocked

Steam has not yet released a statement about these blocks, leaving it unknown just how much Steam is willing to censor private communication between Steam users, wrote Torrent Freak founder Ernesto.

“It is clear though, that Steam is keeping a close eye on what people talk about. That by itself is already quite concerning.”

Steam faced a different censorship controversy two months prior when the top-down shooting game Hatred – about a misanthrope who goes on a mass murdering rampage – was deleted from Steam Greenlight. The game had only been up for a matter of hours and many gamers, who were outraged over the deletion, started an internet campaign to get the game back on Steam Greenlight. A day later, it was, and the game’s makers received a personal apology from the CEO of Valve Corporation, (the company that owns Steam) Gabe Newell.

What do you think, readers? Is Steam’s censorship of torrent links on private chats something to get up in arms about? Is it just a marketing move that really doesn’t mean much? Is it a fight worth fighting? Let us know in the comments section.

Mathieu Evong

My name's Mathieu. I like Oscar Wilde, Charles Schulz and Kool G Rap. I also like video games. My favourite is Half-Life, which I played religiously for half my life. Some of my other favourites are Bioshock, (and System Shock 2) Street Fighter II, Mega Man 2, (because I like sequels, apparently) Max Payne and No More Heroes. I hope to be a professional writer, (and possibly activist) but I'm forever doomed to just play Doom instead.

  • dfkt

    Better question: what complete idiot would link to a torrent tracker in the Steam forums?

  • BlueLight

    “Go pirate it” or “I wouldn’t suggest pirating it even if this is a over priced” are bannable offenses on steam forums.

    What’s being talked about here are private chats not public post.

  • Toastrider

    Why would you have some sort of expectation of privacy using a private company’s chat function?

    For that matter, would you NOT expect Steam to take a dim view of torrenting? It does kinda cut into their profit margin after all.

  • BlueLight

    ” It does kinda cut into their profit margin after all.” this really isn’t an argument for doing this, just a explanation why they might. What about links to GreenManGaming, HumbleBundle, Orgin, and Should they all be labeled “potentially malicious” because they’re all cutting into Steams sales?

    I personally think the mass majority of torrent sites are “potentially malicious” but that is not because anything malicious the site are doing but a small amount of people attempting to upload viruses and what not into their user base.

  • the red army

    if this is indeed happening in private chats… what a terrible prospect

    guess steam pms arent really pms after all

    i hope steam realizes there are alternatives

  • SevTheBear

    Torrent is bad for business. But with almost no demos, trademark and region rules left and right no wonder Torrents are used so much.

    But Steam peeking into your private chat is a nasty step. But for the love of fuck don’t post torrent links in the forums

  • Clairity

    I never realized that Steam had access to my chat logs and stuff. That’s… kind of scary, considering that there are almost certainly people having very private conversations via Steam.

  • Erthwjim

    I should see if they ban blackcat-games as a link.

    Edit: Should have read the article first, let me reword the above and say, will they eventually block it?

  • Erthwjim

    I can say up until I joined steam, I was quite the pirate. Now thanks to Steam, not only have I bought most games that I pirated in the past (and haven’t really played them on Steam) but I don’t think I’ve pirated PC games in a couple years (except maybe roms for old systems). You should really check out torrentfreak though, which doesn’t post any torrents, they just write about piracy and torrent news. They’ve actually linked to several studies in the past that show piracy isn’t the end all that companies say it is, although I think most of the studies have focused on music and movies, not sure if they’ve posted one for pirated games or applications yet though.

    Although that makes me wonder if torrentfreak as a url will eventually be blocked.

  • Madatom

    i had been telling people for awhile not to use steamchat for anything but to get ahold of people busy playing something

    this more or less turns my distaste to distrust

  • Clairity

    I dunno. For some reason I thought it was peer-to-peer stuff.

  • BlueLight

    They never are. If they’re stored on a server, some admin can access it.

  • Bagel

    Every Single message sent on steam is considered Public Information.

    You are supposed to read these privacy statements before you click “Okay”

  • Bailey NaGeL

    wait… sugesting NOT to pirate something is bannable offence?

  • Meh. Their platform, their rules. Although it would have been nice if they’d publicized this beforehand.

  • Nick

    use URL shorteners? Or is this not about launching the site externally… Anyhow, the fact that they allow pirate bay but not others seems that they may be targeting some of the torrent sites that often have phishing links plastered all over them.

  • BlueLight

    The act of discussing piracy is a bannable offense which yes does include “suggesting not to pirate”. The rules are very strict but i can’t really blame them for that.

  • Guest

    Are they bad for business? I remember pirating both minecraft and Mount and blade and i know own both games.

  • SevTheBear

    Well it’s good that you are among the people who do so. But let’s be honest. Many are using torrent to get movies, TV episodes and games. Some buy them later others don’t. I’m pretty sure with Spotify that torrent download of music has become lower. But not totally gone.

  • Karly Johnston

    On any given day there are 30 million active torrent users across the globe. Out of the 2 billion people with internet access it is like… nothing.