The US Army Esports team – yes, that’s a real thing – has become a prime target for online trolls this past week. That comes after their official Twitter tweeted “UwU” in response to an announcement from chat platform Discord. The old-school internet emoticon has become an oft-derided meme in recent years.
The US Military has long (and openly) used pop culture as a recruitment tool. Of course, esports are no exception to this strategy. The Military began using video games for recruitment with America’s Army, released in 2002. Since then, the game has received several large overhauls and updates, most recently in 2013.
This new tweet may seem innocuous to many. However, a significant number of Twitter users have taken offense to what they see as The Army using cutesy internet-speak to recruit soldiers for war. The tweet has received 20k retweets and 3.8k replies.
Trolls quickly stepped in to target the US Army Esports official Discord channel. For example, one Twitter user, Aurum Corpus, posted a short video of their attempt to get banned in the fastest time possible. They achieved their goal in just 20 seconds. Their bannable offense? Posting a link to the Wikipedia page on “United States War Crimes.” Savage.
Copy pastas and anti-military memes soon flooded the chat, as other people followed suit. However, moderators quickly removed anything they thought was unsuitable. One user simply copied in the original “UwU” tweet and received a ban for their efforts.
The Discord was originally an open chat room. After trolls flooded the chat, that policy was soon rescinded. The server chat room is now “intentionally disabled”. A moderator called “UwU” was the one to post that news, funnily enough.
The US Military Esports team began in 2018, hosting teams across a variety of games and genres. These include Fortnite, Call of Duty, CS:GO, Overwatch, Street Fighter, and Magic: The Gathering. Just last month, they signed a partnership deal with popular streamer and content creator David “StoneMountain64” Steinberg.