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Recreations Of Mass Shootings Keep Finding Their Way Into 'Roblox'

Recreations Of Mass Shootings Keep Finding Their Way Into 'Roblox'


Ewan Moore

Ewan Moore

I can't pretend that I understand Roblox. I've played a lot of games in my time, to the point that I can usually be handed something new and instantly understand how it works. If you're reading this, you've probably developed the same instincts.

Roblox is different, though. I remember the first time I watched my younger sister playing the game, because it left me completely and utterly baffled. On the surface, Roblox looks like chaos. Endless worlds within worlds, all containing games, places to hang out, animations, movies, and so much more. It's a lot. But it's undeniably a hit with an all-new generation of gamers, so who am I to argue with it?

Unfortunately, the ability to create almost anything in Roblox means that some people will create without a care for decency or taste. This is why Roblox, like any online game, has a team of moderators and guidelines in place. Unfortunately, according to a new report from The Verge, moderators have been struggling to stay on top of recreations of mass shootings in the game.

Anti-Defamation League researcher Daniel Kelley keeps finding Roblox re-enactments of some of the worst mass shootings in history. He explained to The Verge that he's uncovered this content on three sperate occasions. The first was on January 2020. Then again in May 2021. Most recently, it was August 13 as he was putting together a presentation on how best to report offensive content.

"I would like one time," Kelley wrote on Twitter just last week, "to search for 'Christchurch' on Roblox and not find a new recreation of the 2019 Christchurch mosque shooting on a game platform aimed at very young children."

As I'm sure you remember, the horrifying mosque shooting that took place in New Zealand killed more than 50 people. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called it one of the country's "darkest days".

Roblox /
Roblox Studios

The Verge was soon able to corroborate Kelley's discovery. The publication found no less than two different Roblox rooms based on the shooting, simply by searching "Christchurch". The rooms had over 200 visits each.

"We promptly removed this experience from Roblox after it was brought to our attention and suspended the user responsible for violating our Community Rules," a company rep told The Verge. "We do not tolerate racism, discriminatory speech, or content related to tragic events. We have a stringent safety and monitoring system that is continuously active and that we rigorously and proactively enforce."

The rep continued, explaining the problem is introducing a catch-all filter for Christchurch would block all references to the New Zealand city, including perfectly innocent ones.

"In this case our proactive detection includes human review to balance allowing references to the geographic location (New Zealand's largest city) but not uses that violate our policies," they wrote. Unfortunately, this hasn't prevented offensive creations like the one mentioned above from making it through anyway.

Featured Image Credit: Roblox Studios

Topics: GAMING, News, PC