The FBI has published a 173-page document that shows the department’s investigation into the online harrassment movement, Gamergate.
Available to read on the Bureau’s website, the heavily-redacted report includes emails, news articles and internal memos regarding the online hate movement. Fair warning for anyone looking to read the full report – it’s no understatement to say that its contents are at times disturbing.
Despite being heavily redacted, the report appears to focus on threats made against games critic Anita Sarkeesian and developer Brianna Wu. While their names and contact details have been covered up, clear references are made to Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency YouTube channel and threats made against ‘a female game developer’.
Included in this document are emails featuring threats of mass shootings and bombs at locations including Utah State University, the Taggart Student Center, San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center and PAX East, as well as events in Australia, Las Vegas. In addition to the above, reference is made to death threats made via both email and phone.
The report also details instances of doxxing (posting someone’s personal information) on sites including Gamergate hub 8chan.co and SWATing (calling a SWAT team to someone’s home).
The FBI also reached out to both Google and Microsoft to preserve records of communication by various users for 90 days.
The investigation was closed due a lack of leads, with the San Francisco office of the FBI saying that it simply will not be able to prosecute anyone for the threats made.
A number of interviews were held with relation to threats made, including the associate of one person made up to 50 calls to threaten the life of one victim.
One particularly jarring interview report says that the person making threats knew that making threatening communication to anyone” was a federal crime, and they will never do it again”.