It seems Valve is restricting just what you can talk about when using the Steam chat service. Specifically, any reference to a particular torrent site is being stripped from conversation, while mentions of other pages trigger a warning that the site is “potentially malicious”.
Millions of gamers use Steam every day, with a large portion using the online messaging service. If you’re the sort of person who likes to chat about where to acquire Linux ISOs (or, um, other things), however, you might like to take your conversations elsewhere.
In the wake of website KickassTorrents being taken offline earlier this week, people quickly noticed that references to the torrent site were being stripped from chat – with no warning, notificiation, or acknowledgement that anything is missing.
We’ve seen censorship before, with chat providers blocking certain words, replacing key letters with asterisks or simply substituting inoffensive words for those considered “problematic”. That’s not what Valve is doing here though – the entire message is disappearing, not just the troublesome domain.
As is common among websites used for torrent distribution, KickassTorrents is mirrored across a number of domains – but Steam chat is only blanking one of them. Other variants of the same site are simply flagged as “potentially malicious”, prompting a warning message if a user attempts to follow a link sent in chat.
At this stage, Valve has not commented on why that particular domain is being targeted by chat censorship – or if it’s the only site affected – but it does illustrate that Steam chat might not be the best place to discuss those latest Linux ISOs…