Update: Steam chat was censoring any mention of one torrent website but it’s fixed now

StarCraft II

Like an assassin in the dark, Steam chat is automatically whisking away and deleting any mention of illegal downloads website KickassTorrents. If you link to the website in any message you send, the recipient simply won’t receive the message at all. 

Update: And it seems that someone at Valve has pulled the plug on the censor sweep. You can now message about Kickass.to as much as you like.

PCGamesN experimented with Steam chat and found the evidence conclusive and compelling: Steam does indeed refuse to send any message containing a link to KickassTorrents. In figure A, please see the Steam chat window as viewed by a person attempting to send a link.

Steam chat censorship

In figure B, you’ll be able to witness the received messages, which are notably missing section 3 of the conversation.

Steam chat censorship

Whilst the evidence is irrefutable – Steam is indeed censoring our messages – the reason behind this is unclear. Attempt to link to other hubs of piracy go almost entirely unhindered (some websites have their links marked as malicious and Steam will show a warning when attempting to open them).

KickassTorrents is being blocked in the UK. It could be that Valve have been pressured into blocking attempts to share access to the website, but quite honestly we really don’t know. What we do know though is that some kind of all-seeing artificial intelligence is reading all our Steam chats, and is probably harbouring logs of what terrible game recommendations we’ve made to our friends.

Thanks, Torrent Freak.