Two weeks ago, hundreds of Roblox players jumped into a custom game that let them take part in a pro-Palestine march. The game, which appeared to have been organized by Malaysian Roblox players, was made in response to the escalating violence in the Middle East. On October 7, the Islamic political and military organization Hamas, attacked, kidnapped, and killed around 1,400 Israeli citizens. Since that day, Israel has reportedly dropped more than 18,000 tons of explosives on the Gaza Strip, the six-mile wide piece of land that is home to more than 2 million Palestinians.
Roblox is a game creation system that allows players to build their own shareable games for others to enjoy online, and the pro-Palestine march gained a lot of attention. People took to social media to share their stories, with one person saying their young cousin attended the virtual march because they were too young to drive to one in-person. Others said this march was a sign that the “kids are alright.” The game featured Palestinian flags and a large, open square with the words “Solitary Untukmu” (Malay for “Solidarity for you”) on one end.
On November 5, an X (formerly Twitter) user named Qaali Hussein shared: “My daughter just told me that all the marches are gone…because they were reported for hate speech and antisemitism,” he wrote. One commenter responded, saying that the two Roblox games they had played that featured pro-Palestinian marches were also gone. “The one in the video got taken down first then the second one got privated,” they allege.
A Roblox spokesperson told Kotaku via email that one of the experiences referenced is “still live” and can be found at this link. However, the spokesperson notes, “the experience is set to private mode, which is a setting that was selected by the creator of the game.” When asked about the reports that additional pro-Palestinian experiences were taken down, the Roblox spokesperson could not confirm nor deny without specific details of the game itself, which I could not find online.
The same person who alleged that one pro-Palestinian game was taken down did receive a warning from Roblox for saying “FREE PALESTINE.” They shared a screenshot of that warning on X, which shows why the warning was issued (“political content”) and what the “offensive item” was (“FREE PALESTINE FREE PALESTINE”), but the moderator note seems somewhat at odds with the current Roblox community standards. The note reads: “Roblox does not permit support for current political candidates, parties, associated flags or symbols.”
However, a spokesperson for Roblox clarified the situation over email, writing that “the phrase ‘Free Palestine’ is compliant with Roblox’s Community Standards and is indeed allowed for use on our platform. It is considered an expression of solidarity as allowed by our Community Standards and is not recognized as prohibited political content.”
It’s not clear why the original poster’s statement was flagged.
Update 11/06/2023 7:00 p.m. ET: Updated story with a new quote from Roblox spokesperson.