Valve tries to tackle Team Fortress 2's racist bot problem

Valve tries to tackle Team Fortress 2's racist bot problem

Games giant Valve has released a new update for its popular team shooter Team Fortress 2 that seems designed to combat racist bots.

In a patch rolled out this week, the firm made it so that "certain new accounts" are restricted from using chat in official matchmaking. Valve has said that "work is ongoing to mitigate the use of new and free accounts for abusive purposes" but hasn't said what kinds of new accounts are barred from chat.

The firm has also made it easier to enable and disable voice and text chat so that players who are tired to seeing hate speech can opt-out from seeing it.

As reported by Kotaku, these new features do have the annoying side effect of genuine new players being unable to communicate with their teammates because of the chat restrictions. Bot users have also come up with new ways to publish hate speech in chat, including changing team names to spell out rude messages.

The issue of racist bots in Team Fortress 2 came to the fore in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests across the United States and around the world. Valve has remained silent on the movement, with several indie developers pulling their games from Steam as a result.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.