Amazon’s Twitch Now Penalizes Users for Offline Activity

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos during the JFK Space Summit at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Amazon-owned video streaming platform Twitch has unveiled a new policy of penalizing users based on their conduct off-platform as well as on-platform, creating a virtue test for any user wishing to use the popular streaming service.

The offline behaviors that Twitch will penalize include “membership in a known hate group.”

Via Twitch’s official blog:

Our current guidelines state that in some serious cases where there is available, verifiable evidence, we may take action against users for hateful conduct or harassment that occurs off Twitch services—meaning on social media, other online services, or even offline—when directed at members of the Twitch community.

We are updating and expanding our approach to off-service enforcement, which now falls into two categories:

Category one: Someone is harassed on Twitch, as well as off Twitch. When this happens, we will take into account verifiable, off-service behaviors or statements that relate to an incident that took place on Twitch. For example: if we’re reviewing a harassment report about an incident that happened live on stream, related or continued harassment on Twitter could be taken into account when reported to us. This is how our current off-service policy works in the vast majority of cases, and will not change.

Category two: We will now enforce against serious offenses that pose a substantial safety risk to the Twitch community, even if these actions occur entirely off Twitch. Examples of these behaviors include:

  • Deadly violence and violent extremism
  • Terrorist activities or recruiting
  • Explicit and/or credible threats of mass violence (i.e. threats against a group of people, event, or location where people would gather).
  • Leadership or membership in a known hate group
  • Carrying out or acting as an accomplice to non-consensual sexual activities and/or sexual assault
  • Sexual exploitation of children, such as child grooming and solicitation/distribution of underage sexual materials
  • Actions that would directly and explicitly compromise the physical safety of the Twitch community, such as threatening violence at a Twitch event
  • Explicit and/or credible threats against Twitch, including Twitch staff

These behaviors represent some of the most egregious types of physical and psychological harm, but we understand that this list is not inclusive of all types of harassment and abuse.

In the past, when tech platforms have created policies aimed at combating “hate” or calls for real-world violence, these policies have been enforced selectively.

For example, numerous accounts used Twitter to identify looting targets during the summer riots, and were faced with scant crackdowns despite the platform being alerted to the tweets. Rose City Antifa, the Portland-based Antifa chapter at the center of over a hundred days of insurrection in the Democrat-controlled city, continues to be allowed a Facebook page with over 20,000 likes.

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.


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