Department of Homeland Security spends $700,000 to study terrorist recruitment in games

Terrorists have used popular media since time immemorial to radicalize and recruit new members. Now these groups are slowly moving into the gaming space to spread their propaganda. Last year, the UN even organized an expert group to discuss the motives and methods of exploiting games.

Although there is not much data on radicalization through games, people are increasingly talking about it. To this end, the Department of Homeland Security recently awarded a $699,763 grant to a research group working on a common framework for understanding extremism in games.

Over the past decade, video games have increasingly become centers of social engagement and identity building for teenagers and young adults. Relationships created and maintained in game ecosystems regularly migrate to the real world and are an important part of local communities. Accordingly, extremists have used video games and targeted video game communities for a variety of activities, from creating propaganda to mobilizing and training terrorists.

DHS

Games are definitely a more pervasive form of media now than they were ten years ago. And this creates new challenges for the authorities in terms of tracking and monitoring these threats. Part of the responsibility also lies with game developers and publishers, who must have strict protocols and accountability tools in place to deal with such threats.

The Middlebury Center for Terrorism, Extremism and Counterterrorism , along with Take This and Logically , also plans to conduct training workshops on ” tracking, detecting and preventing extremist exploitation in game spaces for community managers, multiplayer game designers, lore developers, mechanics designers.” and trust and security specialists.

Almost all of us are familiar with the prevalence of toxicity and racism in online gaming, and some of us have probably encountered the blunt end of it at some point. Although this does not mean that all this comes from extremists or terrorists. But it certainly helps real threat actors blend into the world. Therefore, it is now even more important for researchers to study the culture and subcultures associated with games in order to make this distinction.

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