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Twitch streamers plan to protest continuing lack of action on hate raids

Twitch streamers plan to protest continuing lack of action on hate raids

August 23, 2021 | By Bryant Francis

A number of Twitch streamers are planning to turn their channels off on September 1st to protest Twitch’s continued slow response to a spike of bigoted harassment on the site.

The protest is being organized by streamers like RekItRaven, using the hashtag #ADayOffTwitch. Raven and other streamers have been posting for the last few months about an increased uptick of harassment, which included “hate raids”—users assembling an array of dummy accounts and bots to spam channels with bigoted messages.

Earlier in August, Twitch responded to complaints from users about harassment by promising to launch channel-level ban evasion detection and improvements to its account verification process later in 2021.

In the interim, streamers have been making use of third-party tools to try and combat the hate raids, but it’s a glaring issue when third-party developers using Twitch’s API can build better anti-harassment tools than Twitch can.

Some users have speculated that the increase in hate raids follows Twitch’s inclusion of channel tags that let streamers tag their channel by gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, ability, mental health, and beyond—but some streamers have reported experiencing the increased harassment even without utilizing the new tags.

Twitch’s slow action here disproportionately harms a subsection of Twitch streamers from traditionally marginalized backgrounds who’ve built a decent following on the platform (and raked in some money for the Amazon-owned service using the Subscription feature), but don’t rise to the multi-million dollar level of higher-profile streamers on the platform.

That leaves these users stuck in an awkward place—they face an increased amount of public attention, but have less resources to protect them from the inevitable negative impacts of all those extra eyeballs.

Update: When asked about the protest, Twitch spokesperson referred us back to the company's August 20th Twitter thread about upcoming changes to improve protections on the platform. They did not directly comment on the upcoming protest.

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