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Migration and Home Affairs

RAN C&N Extremists’ Use of Video Gaming – Strategies and Narratives, online meeting 15-17 September 2020

Although the use and abuse of not only video games but also gaming adjacent communications platforms and gaming imagery by violent extremists receives high profile press attention, the nature and extent of this problem remains poorly understood by many frontline practitioners.

The aim of the RAN Communication and Narratives Working Group (C&N) meeting held on 15 and 17 September 2020 was to explore this topic with practitioners, industry and experts. During the meeting, currently used strategies and narratives from violent Islamist extremist and right-wing extremist groups were presented and discussed. It became clear that a large variety of extremist propaganda and recruitment strategies can be identified, depending on the medium used (i.e. through games themselves, through gaming cultural references or through gamification).

Used narratives include memes, symbols or other linguistic references to online gaming culture, the spreading of conspiracy narratives and the use of gaming jargon on platforms like 8chan. Additionally, challenges faced by first-line practitioners and policymakers were determined, after which some potential solutions to these challenges were identified. Rather than applying singular approaches (such as merely working on media literacy), it was suggested to apply multipronged approaches to tackle the issue from various angles at once.

Attention was also given to ways in which the gaming community could be empowered to deal with the challenges, such as better access to reporting and notifying extremist content. This paper summarises the general challenges and the strategies and narratives used and recommends some practical next steps. Read more

Downloads:

PDF Paper (also available in French and German)