Biden Admin Zeroes In On Gamers In Push To Crush ‘Domestic Violent Extremism’

President Joe Biden’s administration is targeting Americans who play video games in an initiative to eradicate “domestic violent extremism,” according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

Video game firms are collaborating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to identify and eliminate “domestic violent extremism” content that advocates for violence to advance “a political or social goal in the U.S.,” according to the report released at the end of February. The FBI and DHS both have measures in place with social media and video game firms to exchange related information, but neither has detailed initiatives on “how it identifies and selects companies to engage with or the goals and desired outcomes of those engagements.”

Countering Violent Extremism: FBI and DHS Need Strategies and Goals for Sharing Threat Information with Social Media and Gaming Companies https://t.co/sQ6pAwNaGA

— U.S. GAO (@USGAO) February 28, 2024

The DHS’ Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) and video game and social media firms have meetings to exchange information “about online activities promoting domestic violent extremism” or “activities that violate the companies’ terms of service,” according to the report.

“Two companies told us they work closely with their local FBI field office and find that relationship to be valuable,” the report states. “For example, one company told us their FBI field office has a cyber squad that notifies them of trends in violent extremist content online, and another said their field office connects them with other federal agencies as needed.”

The intelligence community’s five categories of “domestic terrorism” include “ethnically motivated violent extremism” and “anti-government or anti-authority violent extremism,” according to a 2022 document.

The report cites a December 2022 report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that found 20% of adults and 15% of minors said they came into contact with “white supremacist” views while playing video games. Three “experts” from the ADL contributed to the GAO report.

“The FBI is aware of the GAO report regarding the sharing of threat information with social media and gaming companies,” an FBI spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The FBI investigates violence, threats of violence, and violations of federal law, regardless of the motivation. We are committed to upholding the constitutional rights of all Americans and do not conduct investigations based solely on First Amendment protected activity.”

The DHS pointed the DCNF to its response in the report, which states, “I&A is already developing goals that more fully describe its partnership engagement activities, which will include information sharing with social media and gaming companies as one aspect of those goals.”

It also characterizes “terrorism conducted by domestic violent extremists” as “one of the most significant terrorist threats to the United States today.”

The GAO’s report is a performance audit spanning September 2022 to January 2024 and is a result of a request by the House Homeland Security Committee to look into extremism in online video games and social media.

“This concern transcends a single online game. Surveys conducted by watchdog research groups have found that a significant percentage of players have encountered white-supremacist extremism in online games,” Democratic Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin wrote in a March 2023 letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland. “Extremists have also reportedly used Minecraft and Roblox to create maps simulating Nazi concentration camps and Uyghur detainment camps.”

The FBI classified “every single January 6th case . . . as a domestic terrorism case,” according to May testimony by Former FBI Special Agent Garret O’Boyle, although hundreds of them were resolved as “petty crimes” like “trespassing and disorderly conduct.”

Jason Cohen on March 11, 2024

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