Twitch recently has updated its user guidelines and one of the update’s main points was about how to curb and crack down on harassment and sexual content on the streaming service. But, how does this and other changes to the platform effect content creators and watchers?
“Twitch began with a single core idea: stream video games online. That simple hook attracted viewers, but they stuck around because you, the streamers, built communities. You built a place viewers felt welcome, a place they could turn to for laughter, gameplay, or friendship. And, as you began to inject more of your personality and interests, you told us you wanted the freedom to create content when you weren’t gaming. So, last year, we loosened our restrictions on non-gaming content.”
In 2017, Twitch announced it would be doing more than just streaming video games, but actually host videos and television episodes, like a marathon of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. In doing this, Twitch grew its fan base to new places, even having more of an audience than HBO or Netflix.
One of the major things that HBO or Netflix don’t have that Twitch does is a comments section, which can be an issue for the website and has led to harassment issues within the community. Twitch specifically wanted to address how the site plans to handle possible harassment in the community, stating that it wants “everyone to feel welcome” and “be proud to be apart of the community.”
Twitch also stated that “conduct [it] deem[s] hateful will result in an immediate indefinite suspension.” While still built with wiggle room, this updated guideline could eliminate a lot of the issues within the community, as well as stopping possible bullying and thwarting other users from engaging in harassing behavior.
“Additionally, we will now consider verifiable hateful or harassing conduct that takes place off-Twitch when making moderation decisions for actions that occur on Twitch. If you use other services to direct hate or harassment towards someone on Twitch, we will consider it a violation of Twitch’s policies.”
As for sexual content, Twitch has a steeper hill to climb. While the IRL section of Twitch has certainly helped welcome new broadcasters to the platform, there is concern that some of those content creators are also using the streaming service to sell sexual content. The updated guidelines do give an overview of what Twitch wants to eliminate from the platform, but how far-reaching its actions will be is unclear.
“Twitch is an open global community with users of many ages and cultures. Because of this, it’s important that your content is not sexual in nature. We’re updating our moderation framework to review your conduct in its entirety when evaluating if the intent is to be sexually suggestive. We’ll be looking at contextual elements such as the stream title, camera angles, emotes, panels, attire, overlays, and chat moderation. Offering access to prohibited sexual content such as 'lewds' on Twitch remains prohibited.”
In doing this, hopefully the Twitch community can become a more wholesome place for viewers of all ages and that they can feel part of the fun without having to worry about any kind of harassment or sexual content.
Players can find these rules fully laid out on Twitch’s blog and help articles and can see these changes go into affect on Monday, February 19.