Roblox Leak Reveals 4,000 Developers’ Personal Information

Megalithic game-thing Roblox doesn’t exactly have the best of reputations. Accusations of exploitation of children’s labor are hardly a good look, and this week also saw staff reporting that there has been little effort to address the lack of diversity at the studio. On top of all that, today it’s been revealed that a data leak from the company saw 4,000 developers’ personal, identifiable information go public.

As reported by PC Gamer, the list of names, email addresses, dates of birth, and physical addresses contains information on those who attended the Roblox Developer Conferences between 2017 and 2020. That’s the kind of information you can use to steal an identity. Oh, and it also included their t-shirt sizes.

The leak itself dates back to December 2020, but it remained unnoticed and unreported until this week. Troy Hunt, the creator of the Have I Been Pwned website that allows people to search to see if their details have been part of a leak, tweeted asking if anyone else had seen people discussing the situation, bringing it to wider attention.

According to Have I Been Pwned, the leak was posted in “niche communities” in 2021, but despite this, Roblox did not let anyone know it had happened, least of all those affected. It then went far more public this week.

In a statement given to PC Gamer, a Roblox representative acknowledged the “third-party security issue,” describing the leak as “unauthorized access to limited personal information of a subset of our creator community.” These are astoundingly diminishing terms for what is clearly incredibly detailed information about 3,943 individuals. But it’s fine because the company “engaged independent experts to support the investigation led by our information security team,” and add it will “continue to be vigilant in monitoring and vetting the cyber security posture of Roblox and our third-party vendors.” The company also said it contacted those affected to “communicate the next steps we are taking to support them.”

Given the lack of information on the investigation, its pledge to “continue to be vigilant” doesn’t currently hold an enormous amount of promise. We’ve contacted Roblox to ask why such data was being stored in this way and for more details on how it intends to support those affected. According to PCG and Troy Hunt, many received “a sorry email,” while others were offered “a year of identity protection.” Which, you know, doesn’t seem quite enough.

This all happens in the same week that Bloomberg reports staff are increasingly frustrated at Roblox’s failure to address woeful diversity within the company, with incredibly few women in senior positions. The company also told Bloomberg it has “no targets around hiring or promoting diverse employees.”

Plus, it’s important to never forget that the wider Roblox environment is deeply troubling for parents of the young children to whom the software is pitched, as exquisitely chronicled by People Make Games. Seriously, don’t let your kids near it if you haven’t watched this, or its follow-up:

People Make Games

Roblox Will Soon Start To Interview Some Job Seekers In-Game

Interviewing for a job isn’t fun. Today, so many companies make candidates jump through numerous hoops and several interviews just to get a chance to work for them. And now, the company behind the free-to-play online game Roblox is preparing to take the next, horrible step: interviewing people in-game.

Roblox is a giant online video game/content creation platform that allows players around the world to create and sell their own games and in-game items to others. Millions of players log in every day to play Roblox, though some reports suggest the whole thing might be pretty shady and not a safe place for creators or kids. Now it seems Roblox Corporation wants to use its own massive video game to help find new employees and even host interviews in its corporate metaverse.

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On August 10, Roblox revealed its new “Roblox Career Center,” an in-game location created by the company as a way to provide “early career candidates” with a “firsthand” look at what it’s like to be a part of its workforce. The Career Center includes an Innovation Lab where candidates can see what’s coming next for the game, and a Podcast Lounge where you can listen to the company’s Tech Talk show hosted by co-founder & CEO Dave Baszucki. Also included is The Library, which holds a “curated selection of books and other reading materials” that job seekers can look over and read before their interview.

Roblox says its new Career Center will let the company “reach early career candidates across the world” while removing “geographic constraints” from the process. I feel like an email, video call or phone conversation can also remove those kinds of limitations, but okay. What is worse and more nightmarish is the hint, buried in Roblox’s blog post, that it will start interviewing people in the game itself in the future.

“Coming soon, we’ll be inviting candidates to conduct certain initial interviews directly within the experience,” teased Roblox, like a person with a spray bottle threatening a dog. Thankfully, it seems these in-game interviews will initially be “opt-in”, according to Axios.

Why Roblox is using its game to find employees

Roblox says its in-game career center is designed for candidates and applicants who have likely grown up playing Roblox and who will feel comfortable looking for work and interviewing in it.

Look, I get that this might seem like it’s breaking down barriers and letting more people be interviewed by Roblox. Yet, the idea of directly looking for employees from the pool of young people who play your game a lot inside that very game seems a little predatory and very weird.

And as mentioned already, there are already so many pre-existing ways to interview and talk to people around the world. If only one good thing came from the covid pandemic, it’s the realization that many more people can work remotely and more places should support remote work in order to bring more diversity to their workplaces. Instead, what if desperate job seekers might one day be forced to download Roblox or some other awful metaverse, then forced to jump through another hoop in the hopes of finding employment to support themselves and their family? We continue to live in the worst timeline.

Roblox Hit With Lawsuit Claiming It Profits Off Child Gambling

An image shows a robber running away in Jailbreak.

Image: Roblox

Roblox has long been accused of not doing enough to make sure its massively popular gaming platform is free of toxicity and exploitation. Now parents are joining together in a class-action lawsuit to take the $17 billion company to court over allegations that it gets children into online gambling and profits off of it.

As first reported by Bloomberg Law (via Axios), the lawsuit was filed in federal court in the Northern District of California on August 15 on behalf of parents Rachel Colvin and Danielle Sass. They accuse the enormously successful game creation tool (that doubles as an online social hangout with over 65 million active users)of violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and claim it acts in concert with third-party websites “to profit from gambling games meant to attract kids.”

A handful of online gambling sites are also included as defendants in the lawsuit. The parents’ argument rests on the fact that Roblox users, including kids, can use their in-game Robux paid for with real world cash to gamble on virtual items. While Roblox officially bars gambling and other illicit activities, the lawsuit claims the company is complicit since it allows the funds to be transferred to the gambling websites directly through the Robux wallet, on which it earns a healthy commission.

“Each of the Illegal Gambling Websites operates on or in concert with Roblox and the Gambling Website Defendants, facilitating an exchange of Robux for gambling credits that occurs on the Roblox platform,” the lawsuit alleges. “Indeed, Robux never leave the Roblox platform until they are exchanged for cash. Once a minor user’s credits are exhausted, the Gambling Website Defendants cash out their newly-acquired Robux and provide Roblox with its 30% transaction fee.”

Read More: Roblox Trying To Describe Adult Poop Is Very Funny

Roblox didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but told Bloomberg Law in a statement that, “These are third-party sites and have no legal affiliation to Roblox whatsoever. Bad actors make illegal use of Roblox’s intellectual property and branding to operate such sites in violation of our standards.” It added that it continues to be “vigilant” in going after companies that violate its policies or “endanger the safety” of its community.

Roblox has recently tried to leverage the success of its kid-centric platform by trying to appeal to more mature audiences with games rated for users 17 and older, and tools to do job interviews inside the platform. The ‘metaverse’ of our dreams is apparently just another awkward conversation where someone asks you where you see yourself in five years. Roblox has lost 40 percent of its market value since this time last year, despite continuing to attract new players.


Kids Are Attending Pro-Palestinian Protests In Roblox

In the midst of the ongoing escalation between Israel and Palestine, gamers who can’t attend protests in real life are turning to digital spaces to show their support for those suffering as a result of the conflict. The latest venue? The ultra-popular tween hit Roblox.

A dramatic increase in regional violence came about after Hamas, the Islamic political and military organization that governs the Gaza Strip, launched an all-out attack against Israel on October 7, kidnapping civilians and killing around 1,400 people. In response, Israel has been ceaselessly raining bombs down upon Gaza, the cordoned-off home to over 2 million Palestinians, nearly half of whom are children. At the time of writing, the Palestinian death toll has surpassed 5,000.

On October 23, an X (formerly Twitter) user shared a post that read “y’all my cousin is 15 and couldn’t join a protest so she just went to one on roblox bro i’m crying.” In the replies, people posted footage of the Roblox protest, which boasted hundreds of players waving Palestinian flags walking down a massive, red brick road lined with more Palestinian flags. The protest ended in a large, open square, with a massive sign depicting a Palestinian flag-colored ribbon emblazoned with the words “Solitary Untukmu” (Malay for “Solidarity for you”). The Singaporean flag can also be seen, both flying high on a flagpole and being held by some of the Roblox player characters.

Roblox is an online game platform and game creation tool with blocky character models and more otherwise rudimentary graphics that encourages players to create their own “games” and then share those codes so that other people can join. It has, quite controversially, courted a rather young playerbase.

In the years since it first launched, Roblox has been accused of profiting off of child gambling, faced the ire of Kim Kardashian after an in-game, player-made experience referenced her sex tape, and been widely debated among parents as to whether or not it’s really a child-friendly game option. But now, someone has created a Roblox game that allows players to attend pro-Palestinian protests. According to the original X poster, their cousin couldn’t drive to a local protest because they are unlicensed, so they instead went to one in Roblox.

The replies to X and TikTok videos of the in-game protest are largely positive, with commenters saying “the kids are alright” and asking for the Roblox code so they can join. A Malaysian streamer who shared a video of themselves attending the protest was live on TikTok while I was working on this piece—when I asked for details in the comments he said that his friend built the game and thanked me for my support.

A spokesperson for Roblox Corporation commented:

We are deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy unfolding in Israel and Gaza, and our hearts go out to those who are impacted in the area or who have loved ones, family and friends in the region. While our Community Standards allow for expressions of solidarity, we do not allow for content that endorses or condones violence, promotes terrorism or hatred against individuals or groups, or calls for supporting a specific political party. We have an expert team of thousands of moderators along with automated detection tools in place to monitor our platform and will take swift action against any content or individuals found to be in violation of our standards. We also encourage anyone to report content or behavior that may not comply with our Community Standards by using our Report Abuse feature.

This isn’t the first time people have turned to digital spaces to take a stand—there were protests against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Final Fantasy XIV, and Black Lives Matter protests during the height of the covid-19 pandemic in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Elsewhere in the industry, Cult of the Lamb publisher Devolver Digital recently donated to humanitarian aid in Gaza, and Twitch streamer and political commentator Hasan Piker raised over $1 million for Palestinian relief.

Update 10/24/2023 10:35 p.m. ET: Added comment from Roblox Corp.

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