Twitch has a responsibility to the marginalized members of their platform to keep them safe from the endless waves of hate and harassment that have been plaguing the platform.
Live-streaming platform Twitch has been increasingly plagued by sexist, racist and anti-LGBT+ “hate raids”, organized attacks in which channels belonging to marginalized Twitch streamers are flooded with abusive language and slurs which are really taking a toll on creators’ lives.
The “hate raids” misuse the site’s “raid” tool, which allows Twitch users to send all their viewers to another channel as their stream ends.
Despite being initially created with good intentions, giving streamers with large followings the ability to support smaller creators who may benefit from the exposure, the tool has been increasingly used, however, to flood the streams of marginalized creators with trolls and bot accounts hurling abusive insults to such an extent that it’s impossible for them to engage with their community of viewers and focus on anything else.
These coordinated attacks seriously impact people’s lives: In addition to negatively affecting their mental health, they can lead to a decrease in income for Twitch streamers who rely on streaming as a revenue source.
And it's not only about hateful messages, “hate raids” can amount to doxxing victims, revealing their phone numbers, names, or addresses. This is a dangerous phenomenon that has led to people being stalked and subjected to death threats or physical violence. Swatting, an extreme form of doxxing in which harassers call in a fake emergency to have SWAT teams sent to an individual’s home, has resulted in targets being killed.
Twitch itself has registered a huge increase in the moderated messages: 160 million messages detected and deleted by its robots, with an increase of 61% from the first to the second half of the year. In addition, the platform said that the number of messages manually deleted by its channel moderators has increased from the first to the second half of the year, from 15.9 million to 31.5 million, "an increase of 98%".
But this is just the tip of the iceberg, the vast majority of these hateful messages are not detected by Twitch making it incredibly hard for marginalized creators for whom it is difficult not to internalize all this hate.
All this has to stop and Twitch must take responsibility to curb the abuse. That's why #ADayOffTwitch was launched on September 1 and some steps in the right directions followed: Along with promising new moderation tools, Twitch recently filed lawsuits against two hate raiders.
But this clearly doesn’t address the larger issues, as this still continues to happen.
Sign this petition to calling on Twitch to protect the safe spaces of its creators.