The Anti-Defamation League has released a report claiming that Steam is harboring extremists on its platform. According to the ADL, Steam, like Gab and Telegram, has become "a platform...where [white supremacists] can openly express their ideology and calls for violence".
In the report, the ADL says it was "disturbingly easy" to find Steam users espousing extremist beliefs. According to the ADL, these users' profiles contained "language associated with white supremacist ideology", as well as imagery and symbols commonly associated with white supremacist movements. The ADL also says that some users whose profiles weren't immediately identifiable with such ideologies were also posting "antisemitic or extremist imagery" via Steam discussion boards and community groups. As well as this, the ADL report also points to various games on Steam that appear to act as magnets for extremist ideology, including games focusing on World War II and the extremely controversial Hatred.
What does the Anti-Defamation League recommend for Steam?
As part of the report, the Anti-Defamation League sets out four major targets for Valve and Steam. The League says these changes would "address the continued prevalence of extremists and extremist ideology on Steam". According to the ADL, these are steps that sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have been "implementing and refining for nearly a decade". Here are the changes the ADL recommends:
- Create and adopt policies to address hate and harassment - Steam must have clear terms of service that address hateful content and harassing behavior.
- Enforce policies accurately at scale - Steam must take greater responsibility in enforcing their policies.
- Engage with civil society - Steam should consult regularly with civil society groups and use advice and expertise to shape platform policies.
- Increase investment in governance, oversight, and transparency reporting - Steam must adopt robust governance and produce regular transparency reports.
You can read the full text of the ADL's recommendations for Valve and the Steam platform here. There are also a series of recommendations set out for the gaming industry at large. These include speaking out against extremism in gaming, updating online policies and enforcement around extremism, and examining business practices and relationships. We've reached out to Valve for comment on this story and will bring you more as we get it.
What do you think of the Anti-Defamation League's report? Have you experienced extremism on Steam? Let us know in the comments below!