U.S. politicians have penned a letter to a number of gaming companies, including Sony and Microsoft, to quiz them about combating extremism and harassment in online games following a damning report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). According to Axios, the letter was written by seven lawmakers after ADL found that in 2023, up to 77 percent of adults and 66 percent of teenage gamers reported being harassed while playing online.
Harassment in online games increased significantly in 2023
The aforementioned figures represent a six percent rise in harassment reports this year among teenagers and adults, both. “We are writing to better understand the processes you have in place to handle player reports of harassment and extremism encounters in your online games, and ask for consideration of safety measures pertaining to anti-harassment and anti-extremism,” reads the letter.
According to Axios, recipients include Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Innersloth, Microsoft, PUBG Corp, Riot Games, Roblox, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Square Enix, Take-Two Interactive, Tencent, Ubisoft, and Valve. The letter was co-signed by Reps Lori Trahan of Massachusetts and Katie Porter of California, among others.
Interestingly, three male professional Valorant players recently conducted an experiment whereby they used voice changers to pose as women online. Recording the entire exchange on video, the players found that they were instantly harassed and berated by team members. You can check out clips from that experiment over on Twitter.