Content creators and viewers are boycotting streaming site Twitch in protest over the platform’s perceived lack of action in combatting online abuse.
Rallying under the hashtag #ADayOffTwitch, protesters are asking people not to stream on Twitch or watch any streams that are taking place today (September 1). The move comes after a spike in ‘hate raids’ – where online trolls target mass torrents of abuse at streamers, particularly creators from POC, LGBTQ+, or other marginalised backgrounds – and a lack of action from Twitch in response.
It's true. We're organizing a protest and are inviting you all, whether your a creator or a supporter on the platform. Change begins with us.
— Random Trans guy (he/him) (@ShineyPen) August 20, 2021
The trio announced the move following statements from Twitch regarding the ‘hate raid’ problem that were perceived by many to be inadequate. In a lengthy Twitter thread (also on August 20), the streaming platform said “No one should have to experience malicious and hateful attacks based on who they are or what they stand for. This is not the community we want on Twitch, and we want you to know we are working hard to make Twitch a safer place for creators”.
However, it also said that “hate spam attacks are the result of highly motivated bad actors, and do not have a simple fix”, and suggested that its “channel-level ban evasion detection” tools could help combat the abuse.
Many users disagree though, and have called for the platform holder to take specific actions to address the issue. These include holding a roundtable discussion with affected creators, create more powerful proactive protection tools, more tightly regulate user registrations, and greater transparency over its actions in protecting creators.
At time of writing, Twitch has not commented publicly on the day-long boycott. However, the organisers have spoken on how it might be tough to break the routine of streaming – for some creators, it can be a key source of income – or suggested ways for streamers and viewers to use the time instead, while some supporters have posited the mental health benefits of taking a break from the platform.
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