ADL Calls For Government Regulation Of Video Games

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is calling for government regulation of video games due to “extremism.”

The ADL’s move to call for stricter video game regulation has raised eyebrows, especially given its timing. This move comes amid significant backlash from approximately 200,000 gamers against Sweet Baby Inc., a company known for pushing progressive narratives in its video games.

This backlash is being referred to as “GamerGate 2.0,” and is a renewed debate surrounding DEI content in video games. Many gamers are frustrated with the way DEI is being handled, and believe that DEI elements are oftentimes shoehorned into games, resulting in weak characters and a sense of disrespect toward iconic characters. For example, the recent game Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League faced backlash for its Batman character.

In January, the Government Accountability Office put out a report titled “Countering Violent Extremism” suggesting that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security should be closely monitoring video games.

“Domestic violent extremists use social media and gaming platforms for several purposes, including to reach wide audiences; to insert their extremist ideas into the mainstream; and to radicalize, recruit, and mobilize others, according to government reports and experts GAO spoke with,” the report stated.

“Large-scale harassment campaigns like this fuel – and are fueled by – political events,” Take This, a non-profit organization previously funded by the Department of Homeland security, wrote in an article.

“People in game spaces, especially marginalized developers and content creators, face hate and harassment daily,” the article claimed.

The ADL then wrote in a post on X, “As digital social spaces, online games should be regulated to address hate & extremism. It’s vital for Congress to examine extremist radicalization in these spaces & we are grateful to @RepLoriTrahan for leading this effort.”

Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA) explicitly called for stricter regulation of video games in a letter she wrote to gaming companies: “Given the rise of extremism – especially white supremacist ideology – around the world, it is important that online video game developers work to stop the spread of harassment and extremist ideologies that proliferate on their platforms.”

The ADL’s tweet linked an article from The Hill written by Mariana Olaizola Rosenblat, a policy advisor at the Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University.

“Of acute concern is mounting evidence that extremists and other bad actors take advantage of the preexisting toxic gamer culture to disseminate their hateful ideologies and unleash hate-based harassment,” she wrote.

“Regulators should consider online games fair game for regulation,” Rosenblat continued, adding, “Similarly, when considering online platform regulation and enforcement, U.S. policymakers — including legislators and federal agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission — should explicitly include game companies within their scope.”