Leftist found their new internet scheme failing when the largest online games provider, Steam, refused to adopt the politically correct policy of “content curation” or pre-emptively censoring conservative voices. Steam introduced a new content policy which does not prohibit certain non-politically correct content.
Steam outlined its new approach in a post by executive Erik Johnson:
The challenge is that this problem is not simply about whether or not the Steam Store should contain games with adult or violent content. Instead, it’s about whether the Store contains games within an entire range of controversial topics – politics, sexuality, racism, gender, violence, identity, and so on. In addition, there are controversial topics that are particular to games – like what even constitutes a “game”, or what level of quality is appropriate before something can be released…
So we ended up going back to one of the principles in the forefront of our minds when we started Steam, and more recently as we worked on Steam Direct to open up the Store to many more developers: Valve shouldn’t be the ones deciding this. If you’re a player, we shouldn’t be choosing for you what content you can or can’t buy. If you’re a developer, we shouldn’t be choosing what content you’re allowed to create. Those choices should be yours to make. Our role should be to provide systems and tools to support your efforts to make these choices for yourself, and to help you do it in a way that makes you feel comfortable.
With that principle in mind, we’ve decided that the right approach is to allow everything onto the Steam Store, except for things that we decide are illegal, or straight up trolling.
In other words, Steam will not perform any content creation except to remove illegal content or that which is deceptive. This goes against the content policies adopted by most social media and big internet sites that remove content which goes against the Leftist narrative.
This neutral viewpoint immediately provoked Leftist ire at the refusal to make a special category for non-PC material in order to exclude it:
By grouping these together, Valve is explicitly saying that the question of whether it’s appropriate to sell a game in which you engage in brutal ethnic cleansing is on par with the question of whether Farmville should be considered a game. Regardless of how you’d answer either, it’s obvious that these aren’t the same type of question, except inasmuch that both are “tough” questions that Valve doesn’t even want to attempt to answer.
Valve is completely washing its hands from any responsibility whatsoever when it comes to shaping the products that other people come in contact with.
When Americans confronted the issue of net neutrality, it served as a proxy for what people actually want: the old internet style space of free expression where large corporations cannot crowd out opinions on their large sites, which are immensely popular and therefore necessary for reaching a wide audience.
People envision the old town hall meetings where people could get together and discuss almost anything, but now there are censors in the room who, thanks to a loophole in legal definitions of censorship, are technically not censors despite being one-sided in the information they allow to be presented.
Steam, being as influential as many of the larger sites due to its heavy penetration in the gaming community, has shown a new path forward for responsible corporations: censor nothing, and allow culture and the markets to decide what wins. That defects from the Leftist narrative and strikes a blow against public faith in that narrative.