Steam censors pirate chats, message links

The online gaming platform appears to be censoring links stemming from The Pirate Bay.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

It looks like Steam is keeping an eye on your conversations -- and if you start talking about pirate content, you're going to get censored.

The online gaming platform has reported began blocking and censoring links to websites connected to copyright infringement and potentially illegal downloads. As reported by TorrentFreak, Steam users attempting to share links across the inbuilt chat client will not be able to as links from popular .torrent file websites including The Pirate Bay are now eradicated from conversations in real-time.

The publication discovered that when a user on the messaging system attempted to send a link from The Pirate Bay, Torrentz and some other content-sharing websites, users on the other end saw nothing more than {LINK REMOVED} in the chat window.

The sender of the URL is not notified that the link has been censored.

Steam is not just about gaming. The in-platform chat function also connects gamers and friends, and virtual items, cards and achievements have become the catalyst for the Steam marketplace. Not only this, but the community has also expanded to include a dedicated modding community.

That's a lot of users to keep an eye on, and the firm's policies make their stance on some elements of the platform crystal clear. In Steam's Privacy policy, the company says:

"Any information that is disclosed in chat, forums or bulletin boards should be considered public information, and users who message one another may not know each other personally.
Valve has no obligation to keep private personally identifiable information that a user makes available to other users or the public using these functions."

For some, the changes may prompt similar feelings to how users would react should Facebook decide to head down the route of censorship. For others, the move is a step in the right direction to discourage illegal downloads and the pirating of illegal content.

ZDNet has reached out to Valve and will update if we hear back.

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