Google removed a game titled Slavery Simulator from its app store following backlash from users in Brazil.
The app—developed by Malaysian mobile games company Magnus Games—allowed players to act out being an owner of enslaved people, with the developer boasting about the game offering users the chance to “exchange, buy and sell slaves.” Players were reportedly also able to torture black characters within the game.
It was removed from Google’s Play Store on Wednesday.
Local media reported that in the month between being added and removed from Google’s Play Store, the game was downloaded more than 1,000 times. A number of Google Play users reportedly complained about the game’s content in reviews on the app store.
A Google Play permitiu que um “Simulador de Escravidão” fosse disponibilizado aos seus usuários
A existência e criação de um “jogo” que normaliza o período escravocrata ao ponto de incentivar o jogador a comprar, vender e açoitar pessoas escravizadas é criminoso. @GooglePlay pic.twitter.com/N7RcyYww08
— Africanize (@africanize_) May 24, 2023
《In the midst of discussions about racism, until this Wednesday (24th), Google had a game called ‘Slavery Simulator’ in its app store. The game simulates black people who can be punished throughout the matches.
The app went offline this afternoon.》https://t.co/g5hOWTtDtt
— Michele Prado (@MichelePradoBa) May 24, 2023
Spokespeople for Magnus Games and Google were not immediately available for comment when contacted by Fortune.
However, Google told the BBC in a statement that the Play Store does not allow “apps that promote violence or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, or that depict or promote gratuitous violence or other dangerous activities.”
“When violations are found, we take appropriate action,” the company said.
Magnus Games said in a description of Slavery Simulator that the company “condemns slavery in any form” and that the game was “created solely for entertainment purposes.”
Brazilian lawmaker Orlando Silva said in a tweet on Thursday that he had submitted a request to the country’s Public Prosecutor’s Office to launch an investigation into the game and what he described as “a scandalous case of racism.”
“We cannot naturalize barbarism,” he wrote.
Local media reported that the Public Prosecutor’s Office had opened a probe into how the game had been allowed to be sold to users via the Google Play Store.
Silva was not the only lawmaker to publicly lash out at the game. Racial equality activist and politician Renata Souza said in a tweet on Thursday that the game was proof more internet regulation was needed.
“Google demonstrates its lack of commitment to denouncing human rights violations and allows this type of content to be allocated on its platform,” she said. “We cannot allow big tech companies to take advantage of freedom of expression to promote hate crimes. Profit cannot be above life!”
Their comments came after Brazil’s Ministry of Racial Equality released a statement on the Slavery Simulator game, with the government division saying on Wednesday that it had scheduled a meeting with Google to discuss its responsibilities when it came to moderating racist content.
Slavery lasted more than 300 years in Brazil, with around 4 million African people imported into the country. More than 40% of the enslaved people brought from Africa to the New World ended up in Brazil, according to historian Emilia Viotti da Costa.