Screenshot taken by CNBC of an experience on Roblox.
Kids are attending pro-Palestinian protests on Roblox in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war, and so far, a pro-Palestinian virtual protest has been visited more than 275,000 times.
Videos circulating on social media and past livestreams of at least one event showed users marching on virtual brick streets lined with Palestinian flags and large signs that read “Solidarity Untukmu Palestine,” a phrase including a Malay term that translates to “Solidarity for you Palestine,” according to Google Translate. Malaysia has been the site of pro-Palestinian protests, and the country’s prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, recently criticized Israel’s air strikes in the Gaza Strip.
CNBC confirmed the signage by signing on to the virtual protest area, which has now been visited more than 275,000 times, although Roblox confirmed to CNBC that that count can include multiple visits by one user. Attendees could choose between virtually raising a Palestinian flag, a Malaysian flag or no flag.
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About 45% of Roblox users are 12 years old or younger, according to Roblox data from December 2022, and 60% of users were 16 or younger. Just 17% of users are age 25 or older, per the same company report. Social media comments viewed by CNBC seemed to show parents saying that their daughters and sons had joined, or planned on joining, the experience on Roblox.
A Roblox spokesperson confirmed to CNBC that the experience “did appear on our platform,” adding that the protest showcased in viral videos was one of multiple pro-Palestinian protests on Roblox that the company is aware of.
The protests follow weeks of death and destruction in Israel and Gaza. On Oct. 7, Hamas, the Palestinian militant organization, carried out attacks near the Israel-Gaza border, killing civilians and taking hostages, and the following day, Israel declared war and began implementing a siege of Gaza, cutting off access to power, food, water and fuel. As of Wednesday, more than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, according to a spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces; in Gaza and the West Bank, the death toll is more than 6,600, according to two health ministries in the region.
“While our Community Standards allow for expressions of solidarity, we do not allow for content that endorses or condones violence, promotes terrorism or hatred against individuals or groups, or calls for supporting a specific political party,” a Roblox spokesperson told CNBC. “We have an expert team of thousands of moderators along with automated detection tools in place to monitor our platform and will take swift action against any content or individuals found to be in violation of our standards.”
Clarification: Pro-Palestinian supporters have taken to Roblox to protest the Israel-Hamas war. The characterization of the protestors was unclear in an earlier version of this article.