The head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has shared his thoughts on young gamers getting involved in terrorist organizations and falling under the influence of radical groups. He thinks that there are people on the Internet who “produce” future terrorists.
FSB director Alexander Bortnikov raised his concerns at the Moscow Conference on International Security, according to Russian news agency TASS. He claimed that radical groups take advantage of people’s fears in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.
“Young people are especially susceptible because they’ve been psychologically pressured on social media and chats of popular multiplayer computer games,” he said. “Moreover, Islamist groups have already reached the level of creating their own clones of such games that allow them to influence the minds of potential supporters of terrorism and extremism not only through voice communication, but also by involving users in in-game situations of committing terrorist attacks.”
While Bortnikov didn’t cite any evidence to support these claims, he was quite emphatic about young students being “hunted” by different groups online during the pandemic. He said that young people fall under the influence of moderators of the closed Internet communities, which promote a “cult of violence against peers, suicide, and other destructive forms of behavior.”
Bortnikov blamed the surge in online communication and the ongoing social tensions on the economic crisis during the pandemic. According to him, this is something that those promoting terrorism and extremism are now taking advantage of on the web. “In fact, there is a whole infrastructure deployed on the global network that produces future terrorists,” he claimed, while also saying that the negative side effect of the COVID-19 restrictions is yet to be seen.