New Report Suggests Roblox Has Explicit Content Problem

Image courtesy of Roblox

A new report from the BBC has highlighted explicit and sexual content issues within Roblox, a platform largely used by younger audiences.

Roblox is an online platform where users can play and host user-generated games. In recent years, the platform has taken off, particularly amongst younger audiences. A recent report by the BBC has identified a sub-section where users were hosting explicit content, known as "condos."

Within these condo games, users discuss explicit topics and engage in virtual sex using their avatars. This is something that Roblox is aware of, with a spokesperson having told the BBC: "We know there is an extremely small subset of users who deliberately try to break the rules."

"We have zero tolerance for sexual content or behaviour of any kind, and we take swift action against anyone found to be acting in breach of our Community Standards."

According to the report, these condos aren't usually live for very long - sometimes less than an hour - before they are removed by Roblox. The platform appears to be in a constant battle with removing these games, using both manual and automated systems to do so.

The report specifies that these condos aren't easy to stumble upon, and require active searching in order to be found. Though their presence on a platform with such a large child audience is troubling.

In a recent blog post, Roblox maintained that they were committed to ensuring that all users had a "positive and safe experience."

"We have had a safety-first culture ever since Roblox first launched in 2006, and always will, which means we will always prioritize actions that protect our users, even when that means superseding other considerations, such as unrestricted speech" the blog read.

"In 2021 we implemented multiple new machine-learning-based systems and significantly increased the number of human moderators reviewing Roblox for bad content. As a result, in 2021 we saw an 84% reduction in the number of users who were exposed to any experiences that violated our policies. This year – and every year – we continue to aggressively improve both our proactive and reactive detection methods."

It's a tricky balance to maintain. Roblox's very foundation relies on user-generated content, though that only increases the need for moderation. Can a platform offer such extensive creative tools while restricting what can be done with them?

"At Roblox, we’re proud to be one of the most civil places on the internet. As it has been since our earliest days, safety is, and will continue to be, our top priority, and we are committed to continually improving our systems to keep it that way."