Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire has written an open letter to Steam owner Gabe Newell about the amount of neo-Nazi and white supremacist content on the platform.
Starting the letter, Hassan said (via Vice): “I write today regarding extremist content on the Steam video game digital distribution service.”
“As the largest digital distribution platform for video games, Steam has tremendous domestic and global reach and is used by players of all ages,” she continued. “Disturbingly, Steam has a significant presence of users displaying and espousing neo-Nazi, extremist, misogynistic and other hateful sentiments.”
The letter then lists examples of neo-Nazi slogans, white supremacist call signs and “the use of photography associated with the Third Reich” found in Steam communities and account names.
“Valve should be taking steps to prevent harmful content, especially given the relationship between online comments and violence in the offline world,” she added.
It comes as earlier this year, both Twitch and Discord were investigated for the role they played in the racially-motivated mass shooting in Buffalo, which claimed the lives of ten people.
Prior to the attack, it was confirmed that the killer used Discord to promote their plan alongside white supremacist theories, they also used the platform to discuss potential predominantly Black locations to carry out their attack as well.
Sharing the letter on Twitter, Hassan wrote: “Video game platforms can be a cesspool for extremism – and I’m calling for immediate action. Valve cannot continue to let hateful ideologies flourish online. It is harmful to users of all ages and can lead to very real threats of physical violence.”
Video game platforms can be a cesspool for extremism – and I’m calling for immediate action.
Valve cannot continue to let hateful ideologies flourish online. It is harmful to users of all ages and can lead to very real threats of physical violence. https://t.co/B1DTQx9TZv
— Sen. Maggie Hassan (@SenatorHassan) December 16, 2022
The letter went on to ask Steam’s owner Valve questions about moderation and whether it had specific rules in place to deal with user-generated content with “extremist, racist, antisemitic, gender-based harassment or homophobic” messages. Valve has been given a deadline of January 15, 2023 to answer, though it’s yet to comment.
Last month, EA was forced to implement several “critical updates” to The Sims 4‘s profanity filter after a series of pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic content was uploaded to the gallery.