Google removes controversial ‘Slavery Simulator’ game amid backlash in Brazil

Screenshot of the game in Google’s Play Store.—Google

Google has removed a highly controversial game called Slavery Simulator from its app store after it sparked outrage in Brazil. Developed by Magnus Games and launched on April 20, the game allowed players to engage in the “buying and selling” of black characters.

Local media reported that the app had been downloaded more than 1,000 times before it was taken down on Wednesday.

Brazil, a country still struggling with the legacy of slavery, which was only abolished in 1888, expressed deep concern over the game. The developer boasted in the game’s description that users can “exchange, buy and sell slaves”, while also allowing players to inflict various forms of torture on black characters. Screenshots of the game show that players are given the option to either free enslaved characters or “use the slaves for their own enrichment” and prevent the end of slavery to accumulate wealth.

Upon its removal, the game received a rating of four out of five stars, with one review expressing a desire for more options for violence. Social media users in Brazil expressed their anger at the game, and several prominent politicians called for higher standards for tech companies. Renata Souza, a black activist and regional politician from Rio de Janeiro, tweeted, “Sheer racism. This is absurd violence. Google and the developer must answer for this crime of hate and racism.”

Brazil’s public prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into how the game, known in Portuguese as Simulador de Escravidão, was allowed to become available on the Google Play Store. The Ministry of Racial Equality has scheduled a meeting with Google to discuss the establishment of “anti-racist content moderation” policies while confirming that developers will face legal consequences. .

In response to the incident, a Google spokesperson said the Play Store does not allow apps that promote violence, incite hatred based on race or ethnicity, or depict or endorse gratuitous violence or dangerous activities. do The spokesperson asserted that appropriate action is taken when violations are identified.

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