• Lewis Gillingwater

E3's digital platform bans, and then hastily unbans, words including Allah, Christ, and Canada.

In a Javascript file uncovered by a user on ResetEra last night and reported on by Gamesindustry.biz, it appeared that E3's Digital Venue website would be censoring certain words from its chat features including religious references to Allah, Christ, political references to the "Trump Train" and "Black President" and, bizarrely, "Canada", which some racist groups have apparently appropriated as a euphemism for black in order to skirt censors online.

Though well-intentioned to try and keep online spaces moderated, the oversight of including fairly common phrases (such as "oh my god") prompted criticism from E3 attendees. Additionally, as Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail noted on Twitter, banning the word Allah from all communications meant any Arabic speaking journalists weren't going to be able to use common words like Inshallah ("hopefully") on the E3 platform.

E3 isn't without form for communications mistakes and mistakes in general. It's easy to forget it's only been a couple of years since the ESA, the organisation in charge of E3, leaked the personal details of thousands of attendees online. An ESA spokesperson confirmed the list of words was authentic, but only a placeholder not intended to be used in a final version of the app. Either this is a lie, or the ESA are still testing basic features right before the conference launches. Neither is a good look.

Regardless, the file has now been edited to remove the list of banned words. Hopefully, this is the last blunder we hear about this E3, but it wouldn't be even slightly surprising if there's more in store.