Twitch updates community guidelines to prevent COVID-19 misinformation

"We do not believe that individuals who use online services to spread false, harmful information, have a place in our community"

Twitch has updated its community guidelines to help prevent the spread of misinformation on the platform.

Updated yesterday (March 3) Twitch’s Spam, Scams and Malicious Conduct Policy now includes a section about “harmful misinformation actors.”

The new rules are set to tackle “Twitch users who persistently share harmful misinformation” both on and off the platform.

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Twitch went on to highlight misinformation “that targets protected groups, which is already prohibited under our Hateful Conduct & Harassment Policy” and as well as misinformation “promoted by conspiracy networks tied to violence and/or promoting violence.”

The new rules also target political issues such as conversations around “election rigging, ballot tampering, vote tallying, or election fraud” while in instances of public emergencies (wildfires, earthquakes, active shootings) Twitch “may also act on misinformation that may impact public safety.”

coronavirus vaccine
A queue for the coronavirus vaccination (Picture: Getty)

The biggest chunk of the new guidelines is saved for misinformation around COVID-19, with “wide-spread conspiracy theories related to dangerous treatments, COVID-19, and COVID-19 vaccine misinformation,” now banned.

Announcing the changes, Twitch published a blog that said: “We’re proud that we can bring people together – but we do not believe that individuals who use online services to spread false, harmful information, have a place in our community. While these individuals are not prevalent on Twitch, they could cause significant harm if allowed on our service. “

The company also highlighted the fact that “this update will likely not impact you or the streamers you love on Twitch. Our goal is to prohibit individuals whose online presence is dedicated to spreading harmful, false information from using Twitch. We will not enforce against one-off statements containing misinformation.”

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Last month, Twitch updated its username policy, banning any users with references to hard drugs and sex in their name.

In other Twitch news, earlier this week the platform announced its plans for Women’s History Month which kicks off March 8.

Throughout the event, the platform will spotlight “hundreds of women creators on the Women’s History Month Shelf,” a dedicated slot on their homepage.

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