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March 11, 2024
Department of Homeland Security is scouring gaming communities for ‘extremist content’

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The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are working with gaming community platforms to track ‘extremist content’.”

Thanks to a new government report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), it’s been revealed that the FBI and the DHS are working with gaming companies like Roblox, Discord, Reddit, and others. These platforms share the ability for members to interact with one another and create group chats or discussion threads at will.

“The FBI and DHS have some tools for sharing information with and receiving information from social media and gaming companies on threats related to domestic terrorism,” reads the report. “But neither agency has developed strategies and goals related to such information-sharing efforts.”

The GAO recommended in January 2024 that the two organizations develop stronger strategies in this area as part of wider efforts to counter ‘violent extremism.’ While gaming companies often have mechanisms to track and prevent extremism within their communities, the GAO reports recommend that this should also lie with national security agencies.

Even after the earlier recommendation, the GAO report highlights that the two agencies have further to go.

“The FBI and DHS have been taking steps to engage with social media and gaming companies to share information on threats related to domestic violent extremism,” the conclusion reads. “However, the FBI and DHS have not developed goals and strategies related to these information-sharing efforts.

“By establishing program goals and strategies, the FBI and DHS can help ensure that the mechanisms align with and serve the agencies’ overall missions.”

What counts as extremist content?

Within the report, the impact of ‘violent extremism’ in gaming communities is highlighted, reading: “Domestic violent extremists have used online platforms to recruit followers, plan and rally support for in-person actions, and disseminate materials that contribute to radicalization and mobilization to violence, among other purposes.”

Both the FBI and the DHS have teams dedicated to tracking activities of both “lone offenders and small groups of individuals” who the report states are “often radicalized online and “motivated by a mix of ideological, socio-political, and personal grievances.” The GAO reports describes such circumstances as “one of the most significant terrorism threats.”

In essence, it seems the national security agencies are looking for anyone with radicalized views on any topic that could expand into violence, either online or in real life.

Featured image: Pexels

The post Department of Homeland Security is scouring gaming communities for ‘extremist content’ appeared first on ReadWrite.

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