The White Supremacist Group On Steam Is In Clear Violation Of Community Guidelines, But Is Still Open
There's a group on Steam who has the official handle of NoOtherNamesWereAvailable, but its landing page gives us a different name. Specifically: White Supremacy. White Pride — and their logo is the same one used by white supremacist website Stormfront. Their banner is a collection of white supremacist and neo-Nazi memes.
Their only available information lists that the group is only 19 members strong despite starting only days ago on April 22nd. Everything else on the page is locked down tight. Their upcoming event is listed as "ISIS Beheading" on April 29th. The description for that event? "Join us as we execute an innocent man."
This information came to us through a source who wishes to remain confidential. Our source tried to report the group to Steam, but had difficulty finding out how to do so. We've reached out to Steam ourselves to see if we can figure out why this group hasn't been shut down.
I started off by asking the simple question of whether or not we could report Steam groups for hate speech. We found the steps to report a group for violations to the Steam codes of conduct.
To report a group:
- Navigate to the group's main Steam Community page
- Click on the "Report Violation" button in the right sidebar
- Select a category of abuse and enter a brief description of the abuse
Keep in mind, Steam does have a set of community standards that would mean this group was in violation of those rules. Specifically these ones listed under their support article called Rules and Guidelines for Steam:
Do not post any topics/replies containing the following:
- Porn, inappropriate or offensive content, warez or leaked content or anything else not safe for work
- Any discussion of piracy will result in a permanent ban from the Steam Community including, but not limited to:
- Key generators
- Console emulators
- Cheating, hacking, game exploits
- Threats of violence or harassment, even as a joke
- Posted copyright material such as magazine scans
- Soliciting, begging, auctioning, raffling, selling, advertising, referrals
- Racism, discrimination
- Abusive language, including swearing
- Drugs and alcohol
- Religious, political, and other "prone to huge arguments" threads
Naturally, I then went in and immediately reported the group for promoting White Supremacist ideology and imagery.
And also that awful Beheading event. Perhaps our source was unable to report the group because he wasn't logged in to Steam. Seems like the report feature only works if you're logged in. Which is a bit of a mess, isn't it?
I tested it out. On the right side of the screen is the right-hand bar of the Community page when you aren't signed in to a Steam account. On the left is the right-hand bar of the page when you are signed in. I get that Steam wants to keep policing members in-house, but there should be some way to report a group if you aren't logged in. Or maybe a way to tell you that you need to log in to report a group?
It would be a simple fix to have the button visible to everyone, but only allow you to report by logging in to Steam. So you'd still get the protection of not allowing people to inundate Steam with bogus reports, but still let people who are logged out know they can report any violations of the Steam community rules. After all, a lot of people get auto-logged out without realizing it, or may check Steam on a device they don't commonly use- like a phone or work computer that might not have their login information saved.
More pressingly, why no comment from Steam? Sure, they're very likely slogging through hundreds of support requests, but I've given this a day, and still nothing through any of the easy channels. Social media, the Steam Support page, and any PR reps I know who work with Valve.
The first thing I did while waiting on Steam's response was checking through the Anti-Defamation League's list of hate symbols to see if there was anything in that NONWA name. Because that seems a bit fishy right? Sadly, despite my hunch, the ADL's database had no results for me. Which doesn't mean NONWA was a random name, only that we don't know what it would stand for. Meanwhile, the memes and the squared-off celtic cross that is Stormfront's logo were very much on the ADL's database. Given that white supremacist groups have a tendency to revere ritual and secret meanings. So I'm unlikely to go with Occam's Razor on this one. One possible meaning could be No NWA, as there is the thesis going around that Black Lives Matter is an extension of NWA's politics. Or maybe that's just a reach. I just couldn't shake the fact that NONWA seemed a bit like RAHOWA- a seemingly nonsense phrase that has a specific meaning to white supremacy groups.
In the meantime, the group on Steam continued to increase in membership. Despite the flags on the group's profile, it is still available for you to join.
Steam, and their owners Valve, don't have any sort of phone contact you can use. Not even an 800 number.
So we just have to sit here and wait until a Mod comes in to take a look.