Gamergate is probably the largest gaming controversy in the current history of gaming. It was gamers versus a gaming press who attacked these gamers, labeling them as sexist misogynists, for saying that the relationship between game devs and journalists were getting too close to one another and creating conflicts of interest.
In an effort to stifle criticism against journalists for their lack of disclosure, any remotely perceived threat or alleged harassment was used to discredit any valid complaints that might have been brought up. Many of those who opposed Gamergate demanded that those who participated in Gamergate must essentially police the entire internet, an impossible task, for any of their valid complaints about unethical games journalism to then be taken seriously.
What a lot of people didn’t know however, was that the FBI had been investigating Gamergate from the very early stages in the controversy. Tracing and tracking threats, attempting to find out where they were coming from, to what extent they investigated this hashtag group was unknown: at least until last night when a FOIA request made by @LiveBeef, early on in the controversy, finally came through.
Many interested people are likely going to be disappointed with the information, as a lot of it is classified and blanked out: including names, twitter handles, locations and etc. However a very curious story is told while reading through these documents: which shows the FBI did thoroughly investigate any and every claim of harassment or threats, including a ridiculous anonymous threat claiming they had “over 9000” bombs ready to be detonated.
Yes Even This Was Taken Seriously By The FBI
It is important to note that the alleged victims of Gamergate did not share the details of specific threats while it was under investigation, which is in compliance with the authorities, as many of the threats found within these documents were never made available publicly until now. It is also important to note that in at least one instance found in these documents: one of the alleged victims was not able to, or had failed to, produce evidence of a threat occurring in a timely manner for the FBI agent they had contacted.
Of the people who had sent threats, were found by the FBI and questioned: none of them stated that they sent the threats as an act for Gamergate. All of those who were questioned stated that they had done so as a prank, joke, or did not mean the words in the way that they were interpreted. These perpetrators seemed to have gotten off with a slap on the wrist, according to the documents, with most of them simply promising never to do what they done ever again.
After all the FBI’s work put into this investigation, nothing leads to any conclusive evidence that puts any blame on anyone other than trolls looking to stir up trouble: trolls who sent very intimidating threats and who got off rather easy for some of the things they did.
You can read the FBI documents for yourself here and here