In support of Palestine, gamers are joining rallies on Roblox.
Image: cikguzyd / TikTok©
Roblox players are often too young to take to the streets and demonstrate. However, some have found an online alternative in a virtual space on Roblox, where they're coming together to show their support for Palestine.
Called "(PALESTINE) Dataran tanjung mas" (written in Malay) this online space was created by the user "Tanah Melayu Official," according to the Roblox page, and has caused quite a stir on social networks. On TikTok, one of user cikguzyd's videos of this online activism reached two million views, while on X (formerly Twitter), another video posted by a different user achieved over eight million views. In both videos, a large group of players can be seen carrying Palestinian and Malaysian flags, marching through the game's digital streets, before positioning themselves in front of signs reading "Solidarity untukmu Palestine" or "Solidarity for you Palestine." "They're too young top protest in real life, so they protest on Roblox," commented user @seemTV under the video posted on X.
Created on October 14, 2023, the experience has since reached over 280,000 visits. In addition to protesting virtually, players can also make donations. On entering the game, participants can see a chart of top donors. To date, the largest sum is 24,000 Robux, Roblox's virtual currency, equivalent to €300.
"We are deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy unfolding in Israel and Gaza, and our hearts go out to those who are impacted in the area or who have loved ones, family and friends in the region. While our Community Standards allow for expressions of solidarity, we do not allow for content that endorses or condones violence, promotes terrorism or hatred against individuals or groups, or calls for supporting a specific political party. We have an expert team of thousands of moderators along with automated detection tools in place to monitor our platform and will take swift action against any content or individuals found to be in violation of our standards. We also encourage anyone to report content or behavior that may not comply with our Community Standards by using our Report Abuse feature," a Roblox spokesperson told Mashable.Also see: Israel-Palestine conflict: The human cost of war
According to Techcrunch, the game took the server hosting the rallies offline for a few hours on October 25, presumably in order to check whether any community rules had been broken.
According to the latest data shared by Roblox, the game has 66 million daily users, who spent 14 billion hours playing in the first quarter of 2023 alone. Considered an online game primarily for minors, the platform has taken a new turn: "The fastest-growing age group on Roblox is 17-to-24-year-olds and in 2022, 38% of our daily active users were 17 and over, explains Manuel Bronstein, Roblox Chief Product Officer on the game's official blog.