Twitch users have been increasingly alarmed and angered with bot-driven hate raids over the last month. As a result, some Twitch streamers are going dark today to protest Twitch’s lack of fast action to prevent targeted harassment of minority creators. Users are publishing a list of demands for Amazon-owned Twitch as part of the protest. They want the platform to host a roundtable with creators affected by hate raids, enable tools only to allow accounts of a certain age to chat, remove the ability to link more than three accounts to one email address, and share a timeline for when comprehensive anti-harassment tools will be implemented.
TechCrunch said in a statement, “We support our streamers’ rights to express themselves and bring attention to important issues across our service. No one should have to experience malicious and hateful attacks based on who they are or what they stand for, and we are working hard on improved channel-level ban evasion detection and additional account improvements to help make Twitch a safer place for creators.”
TechCrunch asked Twitch if it has any intentions to meet these expectations. Twitch Raids are a feature of the platform’s culture: after one creator finishes their stream, they can “raid” another by moving their viewers over to another’s a channel. This function was designed to help more experienced streamers support newcomers, but it was instead turned into a tool for abuse. In May, Twitch added 350 new tags related to gender, sexual orientation, race, and ability in response to user requests to make it easier to locate creators that reflect them.
However, these tags make it simpler for bad actors to target marginalized streamers, and Twitch has yet to introduce tools to help streamers deal with the increasing harassment. As a result, twitch users have been forced to take matters into their own hands and create safety solutions to safeguard themselves while Twitch works on improvements. Unfortunately, Twitch hasn’t said when its anti-harassment capabilities would be available. In December, Twitch amended its policy on abusive content and harassment, claiming that they have always been prohibited, but savage attacks have continued.
Following targeted racial hate raids on their feeds, RekItRaven, a Black Twitch creator, established the #TwitchDoBetter hashtag on Twitter in early August, criticizing Twitch for failing to prevent the abuse. While Twitch is aware of the problem and has stated that it is working on a solution, many users believe that Twitch’s response is too delayed and ineffective. RekItRaven created #ADayOffTwitch with streamers LuciaEverblack and ShineyPen to pressure Twitch to make its platform safer for underrepresented producers.