Roblox Rolls Out New Rules, Prohibits Political Content and Screaming
Roblox continues to grow its global footprint as it transforms itself from a clunky children’s game to a metaverse behemoth that’s gained prominence for its creative, experience-based collaborations with companies like Vans and musical artists like Twenty One Pilots.
The increased popularity of the Roblox platform has led to significant growth of the company’s stock, but many have felt as though Roblox does a poor job in regulating its platform. In the past month, Roblox has rolled out age verification and real ID verification as well as in-game measures to stay compliant to China’s gaming regulations. Now, Roblox will be rolling out new rules in order to clearly communicate what is and isn’t acceptable on their platform.
Roblox’s New Rules: Why and What Are They?
It seems as though Roblox is doing everything they can to ensure that the Roblox platform remains a safe and entertaining pastime for the children that log in every day, despite Roblox telling shareholders that they expect their age 13+ user base to be the fastest-growing age group on the platform and the improvements Roblox has created ensure this older player base is able to access and find content relevant to their interests, based on their Q2 2021 shareholder letter.
Lately, the Roblox platform has seen increased scrutiny due to its poor treatment of underage game developers as well as the alarming amount of NSFW content on the platform targeting underage users. According to an article by Rolling Stone Magazine, many underage users flock to Roblox strip clubs and “condo games” in order to engage inappropriate, sexualized behavior in settings that leave them vulnerable to being abused by those preying on inexperienced children.
In light of the troubling behavior taking place on the platform, Roblox’s new rules come about as admittance to the variety of issues taking place in the game, but some of the rules included in Roblox’s updated community standards seem out-of-place, or deliberately restrictive of their users’ ability to communicate openly.
According to new rules in the Roblox Community Standards, users are prohibited from “things that certain other online platforms allow,” which they justify as being necessary in order to keep Roblox as safe as possible.
Some of the more extreme or absurd rules include the following:
According to section 17 of Roblox’s new rules, screaming constitutes “disruptive audio” that may disturb other users’ experiences. Roblox’s new rule about screaming could undermine horror or suspense games hosted on Roblox that are meant to create immersive experiences meant to elicit feelings of fear or excitement for the entertainment of the user. The no screaming clause of Roblox’s new rules could easily be abused by users looking to exploit Roblox’s under-optimized and flimsy moderation system.
No Political Content
Roblox will now prohibit the depiction of political candidates running for office, including campaign materials, slogans, or in-game events, as well as references to political parties, affiliations, specific races for known, elected offices, elected officials and retired elected officials, desecration of political symbols such as national flags, and ‘inflammatory content’ related to real-world territorial and jurisdictional conflicts/relationships.
Roblox provides no basis for what they deem as suitable political discourse or debate on their platform. While it’s easy to understand why Roblox would prefer if political content didn’t exist on its platform, it could possibly create issues for young players who identify as LGBTQ+ and live in countries like Russia where anti-LGBTQ+ laws exist that depict LGBTQ+ issues as political propaganda. Roblox’s new rules make no reference to LGBTQ+ material, experiences, or communities on their platform.
No Depictions of Natural Disasters or Real-World Tragedy
While these rules sort of clarify that depictions of real-world tragedy are prohibited if they’re created in bad faith with the intent to misinform or hurt other users, as well as to capitalize on tragic events for commercial gain, it could set a bad precedent for informative or educational content on Roblox. Should this new rule be executed to its logical extreme, there’s little chance we’ll see events like Fortnite’s MLK event take place in Roblox due to its description of tragic events occurring in the fight for civil rights in the United States.
No Giveaways, Sweepstakes, or Contests
According to section 30 of Roblox’s new rules, users can not give away Robux, game codes, or in-game digital goods outside of Roblox. This new rule prevents influencers and content creators to give away Robux and Roblox items to their community to drive up engagement on their social media platforms, which could genuinely stunt the growth of Roblox’s content creator community, which provides the company endless hours of free marketing.
Most of the new rules Roblox will be rolling out are in need of clarification, and it would be naive to believe that Roblox would enact punitive measures as a result of violations without carefully investigating the incidents beforehand, at least we hope so. According to Roblox news resource RTC, Roblox staff are currently discussing the new rules in order to better clarify any ambiguous wording or address any potentially problematic consequences as a result of well-intentioned rules violations on Roblox.
With their new rules, there’s hope that Roblox will also overhaul their moderation system. Should that be the case, we’ll be sure to cover that as well.