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Self-described former extremist turned peace advocate Christian Picciolini took part in an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit yesterday in which he confirmed that white supremacists regularly recruit new members in online games like Minecraft, Call of Duty, and Fortnite.
This claim (highlighted on Resetera) probably isn't surprising to anyone who's been involved in a toxic multiplayer experience, but it's worth calling out as a reminder to devs that your online game can easily become (if it isn't already) a recruiting zone for people looking to prey on what Picciolini calls "marginalized youth."
"Absolutely! We sought marginalized youth and promised them 'Paradise'," he wrote yesterday in response to a question about whether white supremacists and other hate groups target young people. "Today they are using nefarious tactics like going to depression and mental health forums and in multiplayer gaming to recruit those same people."
He went on to call out the afore-mentioned games specifically, noting that "mostly foreign recruiters from Russia and Eastern Europe and Poland" hang around in games like Fortnite and "drop benign hints...then ramp up when hooked."
Devs curious to learn more about Picciolini's perspective and background as an avowed former extremist should check out the rest of the AMA thread, in which he talks in some detail about how he would know this and why he thinks more people should pay attention to the way extremist groups recruit and spread.