In an effort to combat spammers, Valve has chosen to limit access to community features until users spend at least $5.00 in the Steam Store.
According to Valve, the limitation is to “our customers from those who abuse Steam for purposes such as spamming and phishing”. Starting today, users are prevented from using a bunch of features on Steam, ranging from Voting on Greenlight games to even sending friend invites. You can find the entire list below:
- Sending friend invites
- Opening group chat
- Voting on Greenlight, Steam Reviews and Workshop items
- Participating in the Steam Market
- Posting frequently in the Steam Discussions
- Gaining Steam Profile Levels (Locked to level 0) and Trading Cards
- Submitting content on the Steam Workshop
- Posting in an item’s Steam Workshop Discussions
- Accessing the Steam Web API
- Using browser and mobile chat
According to Valve, this is all in an attempt to stop people from phishing or spamming malicious content on Steam. In a small announcement, they went on to say that malicious users generally don’t spend any money, which gave them the idea to enforce a $5.00 “buy in” for the features.
Malicious users often operate in the community on accounts which have not spent any money, reducing the individual risk of performing the actions they do. One of the best pieces of information we can compare between regular users and malicious users are their spending habits as typically the accounts being used have no investment in their longevity. Due to this being a common scenario we have decided to restrict certain community features until an account has met or exceeded $5.00 USD in Steam.
You can find more information out over here, including some features that won’t be locked, and a bunch of answers to any other questions you might have.