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Kids’ game haven for terrorism, says Israel

The Ministry of National Security urged parents to report pro-Palestinian “harassment” on the popular platform Roblox

Israeli players have been targeted with “nationalist attacks” on the popular online gaming platform Roblox, Israel’s Ministry of National Security warned in a bulletin published on Thursday. 

Nearly half of the game’s 65 million users are 12 years old or younger.

Claiming it had received multiple reports of Israeli players being “attacked” in the game by players whose avatars are sporting uniforms, weapons, and the flags of Palestine and Saudi Arabia, the ministry urged parents to report any “offensive content or actors” directly to Roblox so that it could be removed. 

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A member of an Israeli parents’ group on Facebook claimed their child had seen other Roblox users reenacting Hamas’ October 7 surprise attack on Israel, imploring their fellow group members to monitor their children’s online activities and impose parental controls on their internet use. 

While our community standards allow for expressions of solidarity, we do not allow for content that endorses or condones violence, promotes terrorism or hatred against individuals or groups or calls for supporting a specific political party,” Roblox said in a statement to USA Today on Thursday, promising to take “swift action against any content or individuals found to be in violation of our standards.

The game already censors the phrase “Free Palestine,” as well as “Hamas” and some uses of the word “Jews.” Discussion of elected officials, political parties, current and former political candidates, and “inflammatory content related to real world border, territorial, or jurisdictional relationships” is already prohibited.

Roblox’s community standards page explains this content-specific censorship as necessary in order to “maintain a civil and respectful environment,” insisting it values “friendly debate about issues and topics that matter to Robloxians.” 

Regardless of these restrictions, the platform has been host to several in-game protests, both pro-Palestine and pro-Israel, since the start of Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza earlier this month. One pro-Palestine rally, which featured characters marching and brandishing Palestinian flags and signs expressing solidarity, was visited over 275,000 times, according to CNBC, and clips of some of the digital demonstrations have gone viral on X (formerly Twitter) and TikTok. 

Roblox briefly took the server hosting the pro-Palestine protests offline for “review” on Wednesday before reinstating it without comment.

Last year, the platform removed two games based on the conflict in Ukraine, one of which was briefly showcased on Roblox’s home page and allowed users to play as Russian or Ukrainian soldiers fighting in a “meat grinder” scenario in a fictional city based on Kharkov.

 

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