Society · Technology

Our Dystopian Future: The ADL and Virtual Hate Crimes in Games like GTA VI

In a recent comment, Pickernanny joked about the upcoming videogame GTA VI, musing if there would be real-world consequences for acting in an unsavory way towards minorities in the game. He wrote,

Apparently, Rockstar games has made the incredibly original decision to include a far-right faction in the game that antagonizes the Latina chick and acts as fodder. Maybe they can include a feature where the game punishes you for targeting minorities and women on the streets. Imagine if in the future they cancel people in real life for this very act lol.

This gave me a good chuckle, so my first reaction was to check the website of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), one of the main organizations with which our advanced democracies maintain social cohesion, to read up on their work on protecting minorities online. I went to their press releases, and saw a rather peculiar entry. It read, “ADL to Team Up With Take-Two to Combat Virtual Hate”. I clicked on it, and the page had the placeholder date, Dec 31, 2026. Long story short, it seems that the ADL jumped the gun and put out this press release early. This sometimes happens in journalism, too, when an obituary gets published when some politician or actor is far from being dead.

Anyway, the press release by the ADL is gone now. The link redirects to their press release section, and they even got the Waybackmachine to scrub it. Yet, even though this page is now gone, I managed to retrieve the text from my browser cache, so I am happy to reproduce it below:

ADL to Team Up With Take-Two to Combat Virtual Hate
December 31, 2026

Today, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) proudly announces that it has been cooperating with triple-A video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc (Take-Two), in order to ensure that people can feel safe when they play their video games. Take-Two is a premier video game publisher, best known for its Grand Theft Auto video game series, the latest entry of which has sold over [update figure] million copies and is the most profitable entertainment franchise on the planet.

In a ground-breaking collaboration, the ADL supported Rockstar Games, one of the publishing labels of Take-Two, in implementing algorithmic solutions for protecting video game players against online hate. Drawing from its deep connections to academia, the ADL set up a high-caliber committee, which included luminaries such as the Israeli public intellectual and philosopher Yuval Noah Harari as well as an all-star cadre of social scientists, including Janina Scarlet and Pepper Schwartz.

Academic work funded by the ADL proved that video games have the potential to radicalize its users. Following Yuval Noah Harari’s work on the philosophy of the metaverse, it was also established that actions in the metaverse are perceived as real and therefore have consequences both for the victimizer and the victim. These insights paved the way for developing an algorithm for online crime control, which is a key element of the just-released video game Grand Theft Auto VI: Americas (GTA VI).

GTA VI allows people to act out their criminal impulses via controlling avatars in a digital world. In the offline mode, this virtual world is populated by so-called non-player characters, but in the online world players encounter the avatars of other players. The inventive methods implemented by Take-Two allow us to immediately react to virtual hate. Players who victimize avatars that are BIPOCs, members of religious minorities, or members of the LGBTQ+ community, or victimize real-world BIPOCs, members of religious minorities, or members of the LGBTQ+ community that identify as non-BIPOCs, non-members of religious minorities, and non-members of the LGBTQ+ community in the world of GTA VI, will automatically be banned from this game. They also immediately lose access to their accounts on Microsoft and Sony PlayStation platforms, including any games they purchased in the past, and any money that may be left in their Microsoft or Sony PlayStation accounts will be donated to the ADL.

Jonathan Greenblatt, National Director and CEO of the ADL, issued the following statement: “The ADL’s work on algorithmically combating virtual hate paves the way for a saver future, and bolsters democracy. It shows that the world cannot allow a hateful, racist minority to control the behavior of the majority and limit their means of expression. To players, virtual worlds feel every bit as real as the real world, so virtual hate crime has to have consequences as serious as real-world hate crime, and the ADL will work steadfastly on converging these two legal categories.”

This collaboration between the ADL and Take-Two is only one of many projects on algorithmically combating virtual hate. It builds on the ADL’s long-standing partnership with Microsoft and Sony in algorithmically detecting hate crimes in user-created text and speech. Follow-up projects will involve partners such as PayPal, Amazon, Bank of America, Citigroup, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This press release of the ADL sent shivers down my spine. In all fairness, this work is not even as outrageous as it may sound. What used to be considered crimes, such as theft and robberies, carry little to no sentences in the real world anymore, so it is as if criminal gangs play GTA in meatspace. In contrast, offend someones sensibilities, and you may get deplatformed, like President Donald J. Trump. Countless people have been booted off PayPal, Patreon, and other sites, and some have even lost access to their bank account. It therefore seems only consequential that virtual hate crimes should be punished just as severely, or worse, as real-world crimes used to be.

21 thoughts on “Our Dystopian Future: The ADL and Virtual Hate Crimes in Games like GTA VI

    1. I came to comment this same thing… is it possible that this is a prank of some kind?

      Maybe someone hacked them and posted that? Could explain why they scrubbed it quietly

      It looks too much like satire, and the december 2026 date kind of a giveaway…. its too far off to think of this being on a placeholder until then.

    2. “31 December” is a common placeholder date, but the year in this press release does not seem wildly inaccurate. GTA V was officially announced in October 2011 (with a trailer!), and released in September 2013. GTA VI, on the other hand, has not been officially announced yet. Rockstar only said that they are working on an “untitled successor to GTA V“. I do not think that Rockstar will officially announce and release a trailer for GTA VI this year, and then we are in 2023 already. GTA VI is also a lot bigger than its predecessor, so we are looking at a 2025/6 release date; Q4/2025 as planned release window would not surprise me at all. Then add some last-minute delays and you will get GTA VI in 2026.

    3. American Krogan has already talked about the under development of AI that will detect hate speech etc. and punish gamers accordingly. I don’t think this is too far off. Think games like Fortnite banning accounts for calling their opponents the n-word, or for telling women to go wash dishes.

  1. If I was still into gaming, it would almost make me want to form my own in-game right wing death squads and become a “digital Pinochet”. But the powers that be are probably way ahead of me in that regard. They’ll just stage a “false flag”, shut down the server claiming it was overrun with “online Nazis” and when they reopen force everyone to use Digital Identity to log in – with their real name accessible to everyone.

    1. You may think you are joking, but just yesterday I read that the upcoming game Overwatch 2 will require players to link their account to a phone number, but no pre-paid or VOIP ones. The corporate media is already busy defending this decision:
      We will see “cancelling” happening on an entirely new level if this goes through, considering that it is trivial to determine one’s real identity with a proper phone number.

    2. In this case, CPS will be ready to get involved and remove those kids from their homes because, clearly, such families are unfit for having children, and only the benevolent government will be able to rectify the situation.

  2. PayPal has given itself the right to take $2,500 from your account if you spread “misinformation”, and that is per infraction:
    This is worse that the ADL-policy of claiming your remaining Xbox or PlayStation wallet balance because you likely do not have more than perhaps $100 or so in it. Up next: your bank wiping your balance because you did not attend Pride Parade.

    1. PayPal quickly reversed this policy:
      If you use PayPal, you are better off not keeping more than trivial amounts of money in it. This was true even before their bizarre recent policy change that would have allowed them to take all your money. For years they have kicked people off their platform, for frozen funds, completely at will.

    2. Apparently the IRS here now demands that purchases made in excess of $600 in total annually on apps like Venmo, PayPal and Cashapp be required to be reported by said platforms in order for further taxation to occur. So, as I understand it, if you purchase an Xbox Series X for $650, f.e., using PayPal from a legitimate seller that includes a 6% tax fee in addition to shipping costs, then PayPal reports that to the IRS and provides you an electronic form so that further taxation can take place? Am I missing something here?

    3. I could very well imagine that this is what is going to happen. In Germany, for instance, some people had to pay taxes on the supposed profits they made on eBay, selling used items. This was nonsensical because, with the exception of some rare cases, you get less for anything used than you paid for, so by that logic, you should be able to deduct such losses from your tax bill. Instead, the authorities apparently assumed that you willed whatever you sold into existence and therefore you owed taxes on all sales proceeds.

    4. The whole slew of IRS hiring really makes me uneasy. I get the sense that it could be especially detrimental for those who happen to be in political opposition with the ruling class and own their businesses. The stress of consistent auditing, I imagine, would drive such a person to want to give up. I can imagine a scenario where some guy with a lawn business just says “fuck it” and ignores the audits and fines until landing himself in jail for at least long enough to ruin his entire business. Meanwhile, Lavon the Engineer walks free after setting fire to a racist family’s home in the suburbs of DC.

    1. Lmao. Imagine ‘tea-bagging’ a downed enemy female avatar after winning a match, except it turns out to be a real female player behind the character, so they revoke all your online privileges and maybe even attempt to cancel you IRL for virtual sexual assault.

    2. I have it on good authority that some lobby groups are pushing precisely this. The plan is to put you on the sex offender registry for such behavior, without the right to appeal. It is even worse if you do it to a BIPOC player because in this case, you get hate crime charges, too. A particularly fascinating document that was recently leaked to me spoke of a “counter-troll campaign” (they also used the term “inverted honeypot”) where women and BIPOCs get paid to play first-person shooters online and incentivized to behave in an obnoxious way. The goal is to get as many whites as possible cancelled in real life.

    3. My first thought was that this would backfire as they’d be destroying their main source of income, i.e. white males. However, after they made an example out of a few hundred or so, I’d bet a large percentage, instead of being red pilled (or whatever), would just fall in line in order to get their fix of the latest CoD title. Btw, I believe that Microsoft recently acquired Activision as well as Bethesda, so if Gates and co. have anything to say about it then we can expect a pussified Doom series and a honey pot of an online experience with CoD someday.

    4. As we are rolling out socialism yet again, I would not be surprised if a subscription to Microsoft Goyimpass or the PlayStation equivalent was covered by EBT soon. Video games seem to sedate people, so the government can just disable the subscription for a week or two if they need some riots to break out, and afterwards send Tyrone and Jamal back to their Xbox. Meanwhile, PayPal takes $2,5000 off your balance every time you type “N”, and if you complain that you now owe them money with interest, they will charge you with an anti-semitic hate crime, too.

      Microsoft is almost uniquely talented when it comes to destroying game studios and game franchises. They are second only to EA. The next Doom could very well feature a non-binary and fat “Doom xer”, exhibiting a level of polish roughly on par with CyberPunk 2077 when it was released. There are a quite a few popular videos online on how Microsoft ruined the Halo franchise. Halo Infinite in particular gets a lot of hate from white guys online because they just do not understand that it is important to have female representation in game development, meaning that it is more important to pay Bonnie Ross for fucking up Halo than it is to put out well-made games. The next Doom will just be as much of a disaster.

    5. As much as a hit Doom Eternal was, ID Software is not a based game dev. Wolfenstein’s premise is outright ridiculous, as it portrays that the Nazi’s superior technology, which is used to take over the world, was originally created by and stoled from Jews. Then, i believe there is some ridiculous diversity featuring a black chick with a fro killing Nazis and shit. I suppose they’re right at home with Microsoft. Doom Eternal, in hindsight, was most certainly just pandering to white males for profit.

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