Twitch creators took a day off to battle harassment
The Future. Twitch streamers staged a “walkout” on the platform yesterday to protest an increase of hate-spewing bots that are overtaking chats. Twitch’s ongoing attempt to deal with the flood of abuse mirrors other platforms (such as Twitter, which just released “Safety Mode”), though the platform may need to quickly step up its harassment filters if it expects people to stick around.
Hate the hate
Yesterday, Twitch creators took #ADayOffTwitch — a movement started by streamers ShineyPen, Lucia Everblack, and RekitRaven — to protest “hate raids.”
- Hate raids are a flood of abusive comments on a streamer’s chat by a legion of bot accounts.
- They’ve gotten so bad in recent weeks that many streamers (disproportionately, marginalized creators) thought about leaving Twitch altogether.
- The #ADayOffTwitch protest was to raise awareness at how slow Twitch has moved to implement safety protocols and boot the bots.
Raids are a normal part of Twitch culture, and are usually done for good. For example, a popular streamer may tell his followers to go check out another profile in order to spread the success around.
Twitch has promised that changes are coming, and that developers are working on software measures that will make hate-raiding harder to execute. Until then, streamers have been playing whack-a-mole to silence the bots. RekitRaven says that the walkout was to show solidarity: “I think it’s important to band together for the good of everyone who’s been affected and to show that we’re not gonna back down.”
The Twitch community at large had a mixed response to the protest, with critics citing contractual obligations, advertising commitments, and the need for income against participating in #ADayOffTwitter. Others say a day off of Twitch is exactly what the hateful-bot creators want… perhaps not realizing that putting down the controller is exactly what will get audiences’ (and Twitch executives’) attention.