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Photo: SOPA Images / Getty

Popular gaming platform Roblox has issued revised community standards, which, if enforced, would crack down on a wide range of activities, including depictions of weddings and just about anything tied to modern elections and politicians.

Why it matters: Roblox boasts some 40 million daily users, many of them kids, and has faced increased scrutiny about the content that its users are exposed to.

  • Bear in mind: Roblox isn’t a traditional video game that you buy and play. It’s a free application on phones, computers and consoles that lets any user create interactive games and experiences for others to play.

The details: The company’s community standards were revised this week and detail many policies that weren’t in the version that was updated in July.

  • An old ban on using Roblox for dating has been expanded to “prohibit content that seeks or portrays romantic relationships,” including weddings, honeymoons and romantic animations of kissing or hand-holding.
  • A new section bars “discussion or depiction” of political parties, sitting elected officials, “previously-elected officials in their official capacity” and slogans tied to any current political races.
  • The new policies also explicitly ban recruitment into and fundraising for terrorist or extremist groups.

What they're saying: A Roblox rep told Axios that the new political limits were issued because "we found that political content can lead to divisiveness."

  • On the handholding ban: "While some of this activity may seem harmless on its face, we're acutely aware that we have a responsibility to take special care to keep safe the millions of kids and teens who use and love Roblox."

The big picture: The detailed update appears to be designed to promote Roblox as a safe, child-friendly space, setting up clearer justifications for cracking down on content that ranges from harmful to controversial.

  • Roblox’s intent is signaled with the elevation of its previously existing child endangerment policy to the top of the revised standards.
  • But the platform also simply hasn’t always been active in banning content that violates its rules. Fan-made games based on existing, famous games haven’t been hard to find, for example, despite longstanding bans on creating things based on existing intellectual property.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 2, 2021 - Technology

2021 blockbuster video games keep shipping with parts missing

Image: Activision

Friday’s release of “Call of Duty: Vanguard” won’t include the main quest for its popular cooperative multiplayer “zombies” mode, according to an Activision blog post. It will be added to the game weeks later.

Why it matters: It’s become common, especially this year, for big games to launch without all the expected parts. That puts the onus on players to buy today and get the rest of the game later.

Republican-led Pennsylvania court deems mail-in voting law unconstitutional

Workers count ballots for the 2020 Presidential election at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Nov. 3, 2020. Photo: Hannah Yoon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Republican-led Pennsylvania court on Friday ruled that the state's mail-in voting law is unconstitutional.

Driving the news: Three Republican judges sided with Republican challengers and ruled that no-excuse mail-in voting is prohibited under the state's constitution. Two Democrats on the panel dissented.

49 mins ago - World

China's ambassador warns Taiwan could spark "military conflict" with U.S.

Photo: Liu Jie/Xinhua via Getty Images

China's ambassador to the U.S. warned in a rare interview with NPR that if Taiwanese authorities "keep going down the road for independence," it would "most likely" lead to a "military conflict" between the U.S. and China.

Why it matters: Chinese officials rarely speak in such blunt terms, but veteran diplomat Qin Gang was unequivocal: "The Taiwan issue is the biggest tinderbox between China and the United States."

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