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Landscape of Extremist Behavior in Games

Rachel Kowert  (Research Director, Take This)

Alex Newhouse  (Deputy Director, Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism)

Location: Room 2001, West Hall

Date: Friday, March 25

Time: 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass, Summits Pass, Expo Plus Pass, Expo Pass, Audio Pass, Independent Games Summit Pass, Career Development Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Advocacy

Format: Session

Viewing Experience: In-Person

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Yes

Drawing from real time data, this session will discuss the existence of extremist networks within games platforms. The data analysis (from publicly available Steam & Roblox APIs, and private Java Minecraft servers) reveals a range of extremist actors active on the platform--including known members of designated organizations--and various identity and community mechanisms actively at work, including recruitment and signaling behaviors. Network visualizations will be provided to illustrate the breadth and scope of the active networks, and their existence across a range of platforms. This talk will also highlight that this is not a single platform or game issue and lead to a discussion about how the industry has contributed to its perpetuation by not publicly acknowledging the problem, and why cross-platform and cross-developer collaboration is essential to be more proactive in addressing the presence of bad actors within their communities.


Games are spaces for radicalization and recruitment. This talk will provide evidence of the presence of this behavior in games, discuss how the industry's unwillingness to address it has led to its perpetuation, and offer solutions including research partnerships.

Intended Audience

Studio leadership; trust and safety, management, marketing, branding and PR leaders; data analysts; and thought leaders throughout the industry. No prerequisite knowledge is needed.