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The Pandemic Makes Life More Dependent On The Internet: Online Games Have Become A New Hotbed For Terrorists

The Pandemic Makes Life More Dependent On The Internet: Online Games Have Become A New Hotbed For Terrorists

Terrorists and violent extremists are increasingly exploiting online spaces to recruit, radicalize, and disseminate propaganda.

Fernando Fong

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Interpersonal relationships, social life and working environment have largely shifted to cyberspace since the dawn of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A significant online gaming culture with its own communication eco-systems and sub-cultures has also emerged.

More people use games and other related platforms to find psychological comfort, establish social relationships and make new friends.

According to the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office (UNOCT), terrorists and violent extremists are also invading the online gaming space for their own sinister purpose.

They use digital space to spread extremist propaganda, raise funds and recruit people.

In just a few short decades, the online gaming industry has exploded, enabling gamers to enter a whole new world. (Credit: UNCCT)

Therefore, the United Nations is urging member states to take countermeasures against this major and urgent international problem.

Accordingly, the rapid development of online gaming technology has brought together 2.7 billion game users of different ages, genders and nationalities in the digital world.

They participate in online competitions that simulate the real-life experience, a phenomenon that terrorists can use to promote extreme terrorism.

Clear And Present Danger

Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) Dr Jehangir Khan said that anxiety and depression brought by the coronavirus epidemic provided fertile ground for conspiracy theories, violent extremist propaganda speech to spread online and offline globally.

Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) Dr Jehangir Khan. (Credit (UNCCT)

He also warned that terrorists are also planning and preparing for their next attack.

Jehangir pointed out that the online games developed by Al-Qaida and the Islamic State are adapted from popular first-person shooting games.

They use online games to achieve plans that transcend national boundaries, and must therefore be solved through multilateral cooperation and multi-stakeholder participation.

Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) Dr Jehangir Khan

Gaming Can Also Act As A Force For Good

UNCCT said it is committed to raising awareness and providing programmatic responses to counter this exploitation.

Efforts are also being made to explore opportunities in developing the gaming space as a force for good in an effort to prevent violent extremism.

The findings by UNCCT were announced during a recent Expert Roundtable Event on Video Games and Violent Extremism.

The event was the third phase of a multipronged initiative to address exploitation in gaming.

Watch the event recording on Youtube or via UN Web TV by following this link bit.ly/live6Dec.


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