Technology

PewDiePie: Roblox lifts ban after social media backlash

PewDiePie playing Roblox. He is in his gaming chair, wearing matching headphones, with the game playing in the background. Image copyright PewDiePie/YouTube
Image caption Roblox says it has more than 70 million monthly active users

Online social game Roblox has reinstated PewDiePie's account after banning the popular YouTuber over an "inappropriate username".

PewDiePie revealed the ban in a video on his YouTube channel to his more than 85 million subscribers.

Other users then reported that they had received bans or warnings simply for mentioning the YouTuber's name.

PewDiePie's account was eventually reinstated, with Roblox calling the ban "incorrect".

"Roblox is committed to providing a safe and civil platform for our players, including blocking memes that represent or are synonymous for behaviour that falls outside of our community standards," it said in a post on its developer forums.

"In December, 'pewdie' became one of these negative memes on Roblox. As such, we began blocking the creation of new usernames that incorporated the term.

"The legacy account that PewDiePie used in his livestream was incorrectly banned as part of the administration of this policy."

PewDiePie took the whole affair in his stride.

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Others hit in the crossfire

Even before PewDiePie made a video announcing the ban, several people took to social media after they noticed a "purge" on anything related to the YouTuber.

Some claimed that items purchased in-game which featured PewDiePie branding had been removed from their accounts.

Others said that they had received bans for writing "subscribe to PewDiePie" in the game's chat.

And Roblox player Rogos, who features in PewDiePie's video, said that his account was disabled simply for writing "hi PewDiePie" when he saw the popular YouTuber in-game.

The "pewdie" meme

Meanwhile, some of the game's players have questioned the authenticity of the "pewdie meme".

"I have never seen anything like that on Roblox," said KonekoKitten in a YouTube video. "Back in 2018, in December, not once did I see it."

It may refer to the "subscribe to PewDiePie" messages that became ubiquitous with the latter part of last year.

Various paid adverts appeared in Roblox at the time urging people to subscribe to his YouTube channel, with some even reporting receiving direct messages about it.

But others have suggested that even if this ban was accurate, it would be next to impossible to follow as they were not aware of it.

"The 'pewdie' ban is not in the rules," said Ericzona on Twitter. "Why was there no public warning for this ban?"

It is not clear whether users will face sanctions in the future for discussing PewDiePie in the game platform's chat.

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