'Slavery Simulator' was withdrawn one month after its launch in Google's online store
Google has removed a game from its online store in Brazil which allowed players to trade and torture enslaved people, following criticism from figures in the South American country who say the US tech giant and the game's developer should be held to account.
The game - called 'Slavery Simulator' - casts the player in the role of a slave owner who can buy and sell black characters, and inflict various forms of torture on them. It was withdrawn from Google's online store in Brazil on Wednesday, a little over a month after its release, but remains playable for the more than 1,000 people who downloaded it over the past four weeks, according to the Brazilian publication Globo.
One review of the game in the Google Play store describes it as "excellent to pass the time but lacking more torture options."
The game has prompted an outcry in Brazil. "Blatant racism," Renata Souza, a black activist and politician in Rio de Janeiro, tweeted on Wednesday. "The image illustrating the game has a white man surrounded by black men. It is absurdly violent. Google and the developer must answer for this crime of hatred and racism."
Brazil's ministry for racial equality said it has contacted the developer, Magnus Games, as well as Google to implement measures to restrict racist content online. It added that the people behind the game will be held legally responsible, the Guardian reported on Thursday.
"The racial equality ministry reiterates its irreversible commitment to eliminating racial inequalities and promoting policies that curb the dissemination of racist content online, in football stadiums, and in society as a whole," the governmental body said in a statement this week, referencing the abuse directed at Brazilian footballer Vinicius Junior during a recent game in Spain.
The legislature in the South American country is currently considering proposals which aim to require social media companies to implement measures to reduce criminal or dangerous content spread by their platforms. This comes after tech companies in Brazil - including its Google office - were criticized for a failure to adequately moderate racist or criminal content.
Brazil is estimated to have transported around 4 million slaves from Africa before it implemented the so-called 'Golden Law' in 1888 which abolished slavery in all forms. It was the last country in the Americas to do so.