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Twitch expands misconduct policy to include other platforms

Ensuring that Twitch remains a safe and inclusive space for stream buffs, the platform is expanding its off-service conduct policy to punish threatening behaviours outside of Twitch.

Those who take to spreading hate online or trolling Twitter and Discord may soon find their indiscretions have landed them bans on Twitch – much like a certain ex US president last January.

The Amazon owned streaming giant has this week expanded its off-service conduct policy to clarify that from this point on accounts may be indefinitely suspended for harmful behaviours found on separate online networks.

Intended to root out the very worst types of misconduct from its servers, Twitch has recruited an anonymous third party law firm to pay extra attention to reported instances of sexual assault, extremist behaviour, and threats of violence across all the biggest social networks and forums.

You can find the full list of offences here.

Twitch is targeting evidence of what it calls ‘the most egregious types of physical and psychological harm’ within off-stream investigations, but unfortunately concedes that the updated policy won’t include less extreme forms of harassment or abuse just yet.

‘We have prioritized the most serious offenses that pose an immediate physical safety threat in order to ensure we are equipped to take action when these impact our community,’ stated Twitch in a new blog post.

The severity of issues will be scaled once reported to Twitch staff by users. Instances of bullying, intimidation, and intolerance will continue to be handled by the internal team – which has been given a boost in itself – while cases with the potential to incite harm or hate on a widespread scale will prompt third party intervention.

Those who feel issues need to be elevated immediately can contact the Twitch Off-Service Investigations team at [email protected].

Despite axing Donald Trump for his role in inciting the unfounded Capitol riots, Twitch doesn’t yet boast a great overall record when it comes to cracking down on dangerous content.

Wracked by a wave of sexual assault allegations condemning high profile Twitch streamers and influencers back in June, an investigation from claimed that months on (in October) the platform had failed to meaningfully address the issue and improve company policy.

Also, looking at the platform’s first ever transparency report arriving just last month, we can see that Twitch took action on no more than 2.5% reported instances of ‘hateful content, sexual harassment, violence, gore, threats, shocking conduct, adult nudity, pornography, and sexual conduct.’

Though Twitch’s recent history is certainly cause for concern, there is hope that this elevation of safety measures is legitimate and will be actioned properly this time around. Lessons learnt, this has to be the turning of a new leaf.

The timing of such an announcement – when suspicions surrounding tech companies and censorship are heightened (particularly from the far right) – is bold and gives us hope that Twitch will finally lay down the gauntlet.

If this initiative proves successful, it could become a trailblazer to inspire other platforms to take hateful and dangerous content more seriously online. This may also be a crucial step in making social media a more inclusive place for all.

Empty promises won’t cut it anymore.


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