Two weeks ago, Twitch announced they were suspending former US president Donald Trump from their platform, after he incited a violent attack on the US capitol. At the time, Twitch said they would "reassess" his account after his presidency ended. Well, now he's been booted from the White House, Twitch have banned him for good too. They're also updating their policies to crack down on those who encourage violence on the streaming platform.
"We have indefinitely suspended President Trump’s Twitch channel due to the ongoing risk of further incitement of violence. The President’s statements continue to be interpreted as calls to action, and we are taking this action to remove the potential for harm to our community and the general public," Twitch told IGN.
"Twitch has clear rules that prohibit hateful conduct, harassment, or incitement of violence on our service, and we consider off-service events when making enforcement decisions. However, the events of the past weeks have highlighted a gap with respect to rhetoric that encourages violence, regardless of whether or not it was directly streamed on Twitch. We will be updating our policies as a result of our consideration of this situation."
To that end, Twitch's new Hateful Conduct And Harassment Policy will go into effect tomorrow, on January 22nd. Here are a few examples some of the punishable offences:
- Promoting, glorifying, threatening, or advocating violence, physical harm, or death against individual(s) or groups on the basis of a protected characteristic, including age.
- Content that expresses inferiority based on a protected characteristic, including, but not limited to, statements related to physical, mental, and moral deficiencies.
- Content that makes unfounded claims assigning blame to a protected group, or that otherwise intends to incite fear about a protected group as it relates to health and safety.
- Membership, support, or promotion of a hate group, including sharing hate group propaganda materials.
- Posting, uploading, or otherwise sharing hateful images or symbols, including symbols of established hate groups and Nazi-related imagery (as well as the Confederate flag).
Taking a firm stance on this stuff is good, it's nice to see Twitch better acknowledge the harm their platform can do and make steps to try and prevent this sort of nastiness in the future. My only concern is that it took a violent coup attempt for them to get around to it. Rather than recognising the culture Trump and his supporters were creating and trying to put preventative measures in place, they waited until his foot was basically out the door to clean it all up. It's not like they didn't know what he was using the platform for either, he was previously suspended in June last year for showing old campaign rallies with his usual hateful rambling.
It remains to be seen if these new policies will help make meaningful change on Twitch. At the very least, they've taken their opportunity to try to make healthy changes, and I truly hope they work out.