Open Letter to Roblox, Please Clarify & Remedy LGBTQIA Policies
Letter of advocacy seeking transparency & Algorithmic Accountability
To Whom it may Concern
I serve as an Education advocate for parents and students as they navigate school district policies and procedures. In the digital transformation, this extends beyond traditional “school.” I also frequently educate multiple stakeholders on the issues that surround data privacy and technology. As a parent/student advocate, I assist a variety of students both neurotypical and neurodiverse. The latter encompasses LGBTQIA, ADHD/ADD, 504, IEP, and students on the Autism spectrum. I seek to empower my students to expand their academics via writing and research, e.g., filing Freedom of Information Act requests. (FOIAs), a process to access Government-held data. In some cases, when students seek information not held by the Government, but fear retaliation, yet seek to write a letter, they request that I do so. Today, this fear of retaliation directly correlates to my level of concern as documented below.
First, I will explain the issues that surround LGBTQIA bullying and harassment from the lens of an Educator and student advocate. Next, I will discuss the behaviors of Roblox, which have led to this letter, after which I will explain the role of gaming when one is bullied as a surrogate family/community of support, a respite, along with how Platforms tend to moderate or silence the unwanted speech to facilitate such, yet have no accountability to reveal the standard of “unwanted.” To illustrate this, I will examine Roblox’ policies as stated and demonstrate the contradictory nature with Roblox’ actions towards my clients, including but not limited to removing Roblox properties paid for with fiat (USD in this case) money through an intermediary of Robux, all but assessing a fine to Platform users who express pride in their community.
While I am aware that Roblox prefers matters such as this are handled internally, given the severity of this action, coupled with the critical dangers that bullying and harassment presents, an “automated response” would be entirely inappropriate. We seek change, not further retaliation as evidenced by my clients’ loss of Roblox properties. Finally, we present five actionable remedies for Roblox to rectify this de facto Algorithmic discrimination, effective immediately. We hope this inspires lasting change for all vulnerable populations.