Can you land in legal trouble over online gaming threats? Let’s talk about the issue for two minutes.
Can I Go To Jail Over Aggressive Smack Talk During Online Game play?
Law enforcement officials treat criminal threats like the Supreme Court treats the Constitution — seriously. Plus, FBI identity and tracking tools can smoke the average person from a digital foxhole fairly easily.
How much time could you catch, if caught? Bodily harm threats could fetch a five-year prison sentence; property damage, two years.
When Does Trash Talking Become An Actionable Threat?
The second someone implies, or outright threatens to abuse, rape, stalk, hit, or kill, the legal line has been crossed. Play it safe: keep your smack talk about the match.
Some people make good on their threats. If anybody starts polluting chats with creepy posts, pick up the phone and call your local precinct; they’ll hook you up with the nearest FBI contact, who will take the matter very seriously.
Unsolicited advice nugget: if you plan to go pro, there’s a worldwide audience to worry about. Past statements can — and often do — come back to haunt — especially in today’s digital thunder dome. Don’t let online gaming threats destroy your career.
Can you give me an example of someone who has been arrested for online gaming threats?
Authorities arrested a 28-year-old Heroes of the Storm player (who allegedly also runs a Facebook account called ‘tedbundyismygod1’) for littering the game’s chat — and his Facebook — with ultraviolence threats including:
“I will bomb the new york twin towers [sic]”
“You make me want to shoot up an elementary school;”
He also threatened to “rape and kill” children.
Other players reported the disturbing posts on July 7th; by July 12th, authorities had the alleged culprit in custody.
What should I do if someone threatens me, via chat, during a match?
The same rules apply to online gaming as they do airports: If you see something, say something!
Let’s be frank: unhinged people carry out threats. If somebody starts polluting chats with creepy posts, pick up the phone and call your local precinct; they’ll hook you up with the nearest FBI contact, who will take the matter very seriously.