Roblox, the kids gaming platform, has just recently announced its intention to go public. Unfortunately, following the news, Roblox has been receiving backlash due to its loose safety guideline. The problem further arises concerns from investors.
Roblox might not be as safe as it claims to
Roblox is a free gaming platform with over millions of games, in which some are user-generated games. The platform provides a simple programming tool for its users to utilize their creativity into creating a game they want. Users can befriend other users and engage in group activities. The game has been receiving good responses due to its simple gameplay and how it challenges kids to develop their logic and creativity.
However, recent news revealed that Roblox might have issues with uncontrolled inappropriate contents. Reuters discovered that the platform still fails to control abusive language or imagery in the gaming platform. While parents can control their kids’ interaction with other users in the site and the list of games their kids can play, Reuters found out that the kids can still access such problematic contents easily through friend invitations and group activity. Due to the abusive language and sexual contents in the game, Common Sense Media had to raise the suggested age for Roblox’s players to 13 years old.
In response to the problem, Roblox assured that the company is well-equipped to battle the issue. At least 1,600 full-time employees are in charge of eliminating inappropriate contents on the platform. Roblox’s spokeswoman, Teresa Brewer stated that Roblox “has no tolerance for inappropriate content”. She further explained that Roblox owns “a stringent safety system, including propriety text filtering technology, third-party machine learning solutions, and customized rules on what to block, which we update daily.”
On the other hand, Larry Magid, Roblox’s advisor mentioned that the problems hint to the possibility of ineffective safeguards. “I think scale is part of it. What I don’t understand is why the software didn’t pick it up,” Magid told Reuters.
Investors wary over Roblox’s safety guideline
Inappropriate posts are common challenges for sites and platforms that rely on its users. Facebook and Twitter are two of the sites that have been showing improvements in controlling such posts. However, unlike those two companies, Roblox does not publish the quarterly transparency reports on the types and volumes of prohibited contents. Hence, it is difficult to know how often such contents show up on the platform.
John Streur, chief executive of Calvert Research and Management, as an investor from a socially responsible investing focused firm uttered his concern upon the problem. Streur said to Reuters, “from an investor perspective, it will be a major problem if the headlines months from now reveal the company is unable to manage the risk of its platform.” However, Roblox has not given any further response upon the statement.
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