The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has awarded researchers a $699,768 grant to investigate extremism in gaming.
As reported by VICE, the money will go to Logically, a company committed to the issue of “bad” online behavior, Middlebury Institute's Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism (CTEC), and Take This, a nonprofit that specializes in mental health in video gaming.
“Over the past decade, video games have increasingly become focal points of social activity and identity creation for adolescents and young adults. Relationships made and fostered within game ecosystems routinely cross over into the real world and are impactful parts of local communities,” the grant announcement on the DHS website said. “Correspondingly, extremists have used video games and targeted video game communities for activities ranging from propaganda creation to terrorist mobilization and training.”
The DHS announcement adds that the project will develop, “a set of best practices and centralized resources for monitoring and evaluation of extremist activities as well as a series of training workshops for the monitoring, detection, and prevention of extremist exploitation in gaming spaces for community managers, multiplayer designers, lore developers, mechanics designers, and trust and safety professionals.”
“Game developers in general—from small, independent studios to billion-dollar multinational corporations—have lagged in awareness of how extremists may attempt to exploit their games, and how their communities can be targeted for radicalization,” states the DHS announcement.
The funding follows news that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas suggested radicalized Americans who believe “false narratives” online are the new terror threat and following the DHS having to shut down the controversial Disinformation Governance Board over First Amendment concerns.