Why Twitch Streamers Want a Safer Platform

Taking a day off of Twitch to raise awareness

Key Takeaways

  • Some Twitch streamers will be boycotting the platform on September 1.
  • Streamers hope #ADayOffTwitch will help raise awareness of online harassment on the platform and implement new policies to curb it. 
  • Overall, streamers urge Twitch to listen to their experiences and ideas on ways to solve the problems of harassment.
A gamer playing a strategy game on a computer.

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Twitch might be quiet on September 1, since many streamers are participating in a boycott to call for more policies and regulations on hate speech. 

#ADayOffTwitch is streamers’ way of signaling the serious change that needs to occur in Twitch’s hate speech and harassment policies to better protect users on the platform. Streamers participating in the boycott say that Twitch hasn’t done enough and needs to work with them to develop a viable solution to the problem. 

"Having one tweet sent out that says 'we're working on things'—that's just not enough for us anymore," Twitch streamer Lucia Everblack told Lifewire over the phone. 

A Day Off Twitch 

The boycott originated earlier this month from the hashtag #TwitchDoBetter, which was used by streamers to ask the platform to better protect marginalized users from the hate speech they frequently experience.

However, Everblack said the harassment on the platform—particularly "hate raids," when groups of malicious users use bot accounts to fill a streamer's chat with abuse—really ramped up when Twitch added tags in May. The list of tags includes transgender, Black, disabled, and veteran, among many others.

I think if a company spends the appropriate amount of time engaging with the people who are most affected by it...then significant ground could be made...

"We definitely started seeing more people being targeted after the addition of tags, especially in the transgender community," she said. 

Although Twitch said it would launch channel-level ban evasion detection and account verification improvements later this year, streamers are still disappointed in how its handled the situation. 

"It's just so bizarre for a company not to say, 'Hey, can we talk to you? What’s going on?'" Everblack said. "They're not looking at it through the lens of somebody who has to go through this every day."

That’s why streamers RekItRaven, Everblack, and Shineypen came together to organize #ADayOffTwitch. Everblack said that while she understands that some streamers support the movement but can't take off due to contractual obligations, raising awareness about the issues on the platform is the bigger picture. 

"We're trying to factor in everyone and empower them to do what they feel is right. As with any healthy social movement, people do things differently to show support," she said. "Ultimately, what matters is that we want to achieve the same goal, and we can't confuse what action we take with the goal we're trying to achieve."

The Twitch logo imposed over a brick wall.

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Everblack said the boycott's goal is to raise awareness of the problems Twitch has with harassment, but that there's an even bigger objective of raising awareness to stop online harassment outside of Twitch, as well. 

"This isn't just a problem on Twitch. It's a problem when every online platform is really easy to target and harass people, and there's little to no control or like granular security features that people can use to help protect themselves from it," she said. 

Solving the Problem 

Streamers have ideas on how to fix the prevalent problems that plague Twitch, and most are relatively simple but would make a big difference when put together. 

"Some of the ideas people have thrown around are down to the streamer level, like allowing individual streamers to adjust their chats to limit who speaks to people who've had their account age longer than like a day or two," Twitch streamer Veronica Ripley, aka Nikatine, told Lifewire over the phone.

Other ways harassment from these bot accounts could be curbed includes turning on two-factor authentication since Ripley said that's something that bots can't do very easily. And Ripley added that the ability for streamers to share block lists also would be helpful.

Ultimately, what matters is that we want to achieve the same goal, and we can't confuse what action we take with the goal we're trying to achieve.

"Being able to share our blocklists amongst each other would be ideal since the block list I have for Twitch is not the same as someone else's block list," she said. "But how great would it be if we could subscribe to each other's blocklists?"

Overall, Ripley said if Twitch can take the time to talk to and listen to the streamers affected by this harassment, there can be steps made in the right direction. 

"I think if a company spends the appropriate amount of time engaging with the people who are most affected by it and spend an appropriate amount of resources on this problem, then significant ground could be made, and I hope that Twitch does that," she said.

Twitch does plan to meet with RekItRaven this week to discuss the boycott and the underlying harassment and hate raid issues, so hopefully there's a better solution in the works to make everyone on the platform feel safer.

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