US Funds eSports Program to Combat Misinformation

US Funds eSports Program to Combat Misinformation

The State Department posted a grant opportunity to train Ukrainian video game competitors to counteract misinformation from abroad.

Recipients of grants are required to take advantage of the popularity of video games in Eastern Europe to create an eSports program that instructs players on how to deal with “foreign propaganda and disinformation” in online gaming environments.¬†

Also read: Zwift Games Hailed as the Biggest eSports Event in History

The instruction would take place in line with competitive training sessions designed to create a talent pipeline for Ukrainian professional teams.

A coalition-building exercise and an eSports competition would take place after the educational activities.

Biden in supporting Ukraine

According to the Biden administration, one of Russia’s most important and widespread weapons is disinformation. President Joe Biden announced new sanctions and limitations on Russia in February and offered assistance to independent media.

The sanctions target the associates of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Russia’s banking industry, defense industrial base, and procurement networks.

According to Biden, the sanctions would target individuals involved in Navalny’s detention, Russia’s banking and defense industries, procurement networks, and individuals who evade sanctions on multiple continents.

In a statement regarding the sanctions, Biden stated that they will ensure Putin pays an even steeper price for his aggression abroad and repression at home. He pointed out that the event coincides with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, marking its second anniversary.

According to Biden, the United States is also acting to lower Russia’s energy income and has placed export restrictions on nearly 100 organizations that aid in Russia’s military endeavors.

Combating disinformation

According to the grant posting, the program will teach Ukrainians “counter disinformation/conflict resolution training to confront foreign propaganda and disinformation in competitive online gaming spaces” and teach them how to play video games more skillfully.¬†

Additionally, the State Department has launched a larger campaign to combat what it considers misinformation since President Joe Biden took office in 2021, occasionally by providing funding to groups that censor conservatives.

The State Department’s grant materials don’t describe in detail how teaching Ukrainians to play video games will counteract “disinformation.” Still, the program aims to take advantage of “the popularity and penetration of video games in Eastern Europe” to “develop an eSports program” that will help it accomplish its objectives.

According to the solicitation, the federal government will provide “professional training” to Ukrainian “eSports athletes” with the goal of “forming a talent pipeline to professional teams in Ukraine.” The program’s finale will be a tournament featuring video games.

However, the grant listing stated that the State Department’s disinformation campaign about Ukrainian eSports will cost taxpayers $250,000.

The State Department published a similar grant request in April 2022 to utilize competitive video games to advance gender equality in India.

In the past, the State Department has funded groups that support censorship to counter “disinformation.”

The Global Disinformation Index (GDI), a British organization that offers advertising companies a blacklist in an attempt to force them to remove their advertisements from news outlets it claims to be disinformation-filled, was funded by the department. GDI flagged Newsmax, the Daily Wire, and the New York Post as sources of misinformation.

RELATED TOPICS: Biden, eSports, Ukrainert
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