Twitch is not unaware of the dangers. A Twitch spokesperson said the company plans to livestream a session in the coming months that will educate streamers about real-world risks. In recent years, it has increased its efforts to build security into the platform, said Mr. Verilli, Head of Product. He mentioned, for example, a change made to the site to obscure personal contact information on the Twitch settings page, so streamers sharing their computer screens wouldn’t accidentally expose their addresses or phone numbers.
Twitch’s vice president of global trust and safety, Angela Hessian, said her team kept creators up to date on “how to protect themselves both on and off Twitch,” a safety center with tips for preventing douching, swatting, and stalking. offer is also included. Ms Hessian said Twitch tried to create “a safe environment” but was limited in how much it could help. For example, it cannot provide identifying information about a potential harasser unless the company has received a valid request from law enforcement. The team at Twitch responsible for informing law enforcement and threats made on the platform has quadrupled over the past two years.
Last year, the company announced that it would begin holding users accountable for abuses that occurred “off-service,” saying it was a new approach to the industry. If a Twitch user is determined to cause “serious real-world harm,” according to the company, the user could be barred from the platform.
Mia Consalvo, a professor at Montreal’s Concordia University who studies video games and Twitch, said Twitch has to walk a fine line between keeping streamers safe from unruly fans and encouraging the platform to power up and make money.
“They want to shut down the most serious harassment, because it’s going to drive people away from the stream and channel, but they don’t want to crack down too much, because they don’t want to turn away a lot of people, a lot of viewers. , ”said Dr. Consalvo.
In 2020, Twitch expanded its definition of hateful conduct and acknowledged that some creators, especially minorities, “experience a disproportionate amount of online harassment and abuse.” Last summer, the hashtag #TwitchDoBetter began circulating on social media by Black and LGBTQ streamers saying they were being targeted by so-called hate raids, in which automated bot accounts filled their chats with racist and discriminatory themes. spammed.