The Federal Bureau of Investigation just declassified the GamerGate files. After thoroughly reading through them, here’s all you need to to know.
This weekend the FBI tweeted that they had officially declassified the #GamerGate files which means they are now accessibly by the public. But what exactly does it prove?
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Most people were surprised that the FBI was even investigating the so-called GamerGate.
The GamerGate controversy originated from an alleged harassment campaign conducted via the usage of the hashtag #GamerGate. The controversy solely centred on issues that some claimed that the videogame industry was inherently sexist, and that videogame culture was toxic and lacked diversity.
FBI declassified GamerGate files
Gamergate: https://t.co/d3a991bRRF— FBI Records Vault (@FBIRecordsVault) November 29, 2019
On August 2014, an alleged harassment campaign targeted several women in the videogame industry; primary targets being game developers Zoë Quinn and Brianna Wu, as well as feminist media critic and liberal activist Anita Sarkeesian. After Eron Gjoni, Quinn’s former boyfriend, wrote a disparaging blog post about the developer, some people, using the #gamergate hashtag, accused Quinn of an unethical relationship with journalist Nathan Grayson. Harassment campaigns against Quinn and others allegedly included doxing, threats of rape, and death threats.
Strangely, the alleged threats and harassment involved in certain anonymous individuals tweeting imagery depicting children in sexually activity. On top of the complaints from the women as well as the illegal content and threats being made on Twitter the FBI became involved and investigated, what did they conclude? That GamerGate complaints were unfounded.
The 172 page FBI document concludes that the evidence provided by the supposed victims was unsubstantiated, and their investigation brought no leads nor answers and therefor the case had to be closed. It also pretty hilarious.
The investigation followed pointed fingers and corners were left un-searched and no stones were left un-turned, but despite the FBIs efforts to find a single shred of evidence supporting the allegations made the the alleged victims nothing came up.
Some threats deemed fraudulent by FBI
Although most the the interactions between the culprit and the victims that allegedly took place on the internet are despicable, disgusting, and vile the FBI and the Cyber Crime unit both determined that most of the complaints made by the victims were “fraudulent.”
“I’m going to blow these feminazis up with over 9000 bombs, oh and by the way I’m fapping to your pictures right now because you guys are super hot,” one email allegedly said.
Another person, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed to be an insider with proof of there were “sexist white extremist gamers” behind the threats told the FBI that he was apart of the group and these women’s lives were in real danger. He pointed his finger at a website called ‘Something Awful’ and demanded a thorough investigation of its owner. After investigating the FBI determined that the source of the email was ‘questionable’ and declared it to be ‘fraudulent’, however refused to comment on who they believed was behind it.
One of the victims claimed that her neighbours were contacted and sent Nazi propaganda. The FBI investigated and concluded that this claim was also false.
After investigation of ‘Something Awful’ collapsed the victims alleged that 8chan.co was the home of GamerGate and that the sites owner was the leader of the group. Again, investigations proved this to be false.
Mockery was exaggerated, no one arrested
However, the FBI did uncover the identity of one individual behind one of the threatening emails that were sent to the victims. On September 1, 2015 The Massachusetts Police Department interviewed a young teenage boy who still lived with his parents. He admitted to sending an angry email and making prank calls but never threatened to kill or harm anyone. He said the he understands that his emails “looked really bad.” The Police Department concluded that the email and comments made were merely mocking the individuals opinion and the claims of a threat were exaggerated. He was not prosecuted.
FBI closes case
The FBI document concludes, “to date, all investigative steps have failed to identify any subjects or actionable leads. San Francisco USAO indicated that San Francisco will not be able to prosecute any threats against victims or subjects that not located in the San Francisco AOR.
“It is requested that this investigation be administratively closed due to lack of leads. There are no items of evidence maintained by the FBI for this investigation. There are no currently outstanding leads for this investigation.”
In a nutshell this means that this investigation was big old nothing-burger and #GamerGate is one of the dumbest things they’ve ever had to waste resources on investigating.
I don’t doubt that some horrible people said some horrible things about some people they disagree with, but that’s the nature of the internet. Popular Twitch streamers receive similar, if not worse, harassment on a daily basis and what propagates it is their reaction to it. Live streamer Paul Denino, aka Ice Poseidon, was constantly targeted and harassed by viewers but his reactions enabled the behaviour of the bad eggs. This is the most likely case for GamerGate.
It’s undeniable that the majority of the demographic that makes up gamers is male, so to say that criticising male gamers and their favourite videogames is going to spark controversy is an understatement… people are going to react… and the overreaction to trolls disagreeing with them and the media blowing this up is ultimately what started this nonsense.