The Anti-Defamation League has set its sights on the PC video game digital distribution company Steam and parent company Valve, accusing the latter of “harboring extremists.”
Putting aside the fact that in a strict one on one comparison the ADL is much closer to meeting the definition of a racial extremist organization than Steam is, the left-wing juggernaut’s attack on Steam last week was riddled with factual errors.
In a piece titled “This is Not a Game: How Steam Harbors Extremists,” the ADL laid out a case arguing that the only redemption Valve can find for the crime of allowing people with unorthodox political viewpoints to use their service is by working with and funding “civil society experts.”
The ADL launched a program with the Aspen Institute called the “Civil Society Fellowship” in 2019.
“Steam, the largest and most important online store for PC gamers with over $4 Billion in revenue in 2017, has recently gained popularity among white supremacists for being a platform, like Gab and Telegram, where they can openly express their ideology and calls for violence,” the ADL wrote.
The ADL went on to cite its own study which claims 23% of respondents dealt with “extremist white supremacy” ideology in multiplayer games, while acknowledging that “evidence of the widespread extremist recruiting or organizing in online game environments (such as in Fortnite or other popular titles) remains anecdotal at best, and more research is required before any broad-based claims can be made. ”
Valve games DotA and Counterstrike: Global Offensive were singled out by name as hotbeds of evil unpopular political opinions.
The ADL also attacked Valve for having a bold, ethical approach – by modern standards at least – to free speech and content moderation on the Steam store.
Users who had Pepe the Frog as their avatars on Steam were also singled out in the piece: “A significant number of Steam profiles feature Pepe the Frog, a popular Internet meme that was hijacked by the alt right, in clearly white supremacist contexts.”
The ADL also tried to compare the 2019 Christchurch shooting to first-person shooter games, stating that the usage of a GoPro camera “mimics first-person shooter games that simulate real-world weapons-based combat scenes.”
The fact that the Christchurch shooter had a Steam profile was also of note to the ADL.
At the end of the article, the ADL laid out a long-winded list of demands for Valve to follow, including the ludicrous cry for “transparency reports.”
The ADL tweet linking the article was swiftly ratioed on Twitter.
I love how their advice is for valve to work with civil rights groups while describing themselves as a civil rights group. It almost like the ADL is a scam
— Captain-Dork 🌺 (@CaptainDoork) May 1, 2020