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Homeland Security investigates radicalization and video games

The federal government is investing in three research and support initiatives to combat the spread of extremism and terrorism in video game communities.

The federal government awarded a grant of $699,763 to investigate radicalization in gaming communities. Multiple investigative entities, from terrorism researchers to non-profit organizations, need to tackle the problem of the spread of extremism in video games and video game communities. The funding comes from the Department of Homeland Security and is part of the Violence and Terrorism Prevention Targeted Grants program. The TVTP Grant Program awards approximately $20 million to local and state authorities as well as nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher education to establish or build capacity to prevent targeted violence and terrorism.


The funding is going to Middlebury’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism, a research center based at Middlebury College in Vermont; the non-profit organization Take This, which supports gaming communities and the gaming industry; and Logically, a company that uses artificial intelligence and experts to reduce harmful and manipulative content online. While many video game communities are amazing, the grant aims to ensure they all become better by raising awareness, increasing media literacy and critical thinking, and improving civic engagement.

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Whenever video game communities are targeted by extremist or even terrorist ideas, it affects some of the most vulnerable people in those communities. People are notorious for having anger towards video games, which likely makes them more prone to extremist influences. Teens and young adults create meaningful relationships online, and a bad actor can take advantage of that dynamic. According to the DHS filing, the communities have even been the target of terrorist mobilizations and training. While gamers are often targeted by extremists, game developers don’t get a pass either. The DHS filing says the developers have failed to address issues in the very communities they foster. DHS believes that the lack of counter-radicalization awareness has resulted in less security.

Middlebury CTEC, Take This, and Logically will develop a framework that will help developers and communities understand the phenomenon and ultimately take preventative action. Researchers will provide centralized resources and best practices, and train community managers, game designers and security professionals in workshops on how to monitor, detect and prevent extremists from attacking. abuse communities.

The intersection of video games and activities that promote extremism or spread propaganda is understudied, and people who know communities and forums intimately realize that dangerous ideas are being spread through these channels. While gaming communities are often linked online, extremist ideas and ideologies are spreading from games to the real world. The initiative is an important step in protecting some of the most vulnerable people from extremist training and propaganda.

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Source: Department of Homeland Security