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Streaming platform Twitch has issued a significant update to its harassment and hateful conduct policies, adding new rules regarding hate speech and sexual harassment. The changes, on the whole, seem aimed at stamping out conduct that is not necessarily malicious, but that may have a negative impact on streamers, other viewers, or the community as a whole.
More specifically, the policy changes include bans on claiming that a victim of a violent tragedy is lying, encouraging DDoS attacks, certain hateful emoji, and the Confederate flag. The policy changes also bar unwelcome comments on someone’s physical appearance or making sexual/lewd comments. The policy notes that this change does not include an exemption for public figures.
“Words and actions have meaning and impact, even if your intent is not meant to be hurtful or cause harm,” Twitch wrote in a blog post. “And even if the target of your behavior or comments isn’t bothered by them, others in the community may nevertheless feel impacted by it. Under the new policy, our Safety team will look at the content of statements or actions in order to determine whether a behavior is abusive and violates our guidelines, rather than relying solely on perceived intent.”
The changes will go into effect on January 22, giving users five weeks to learn the new rules before any penalties are given out. Twitch will host a “deep dive” on the policies on December 11 at 10 AM PT, followed by a town hall on December 16 at 10 AM.
Twitch Policy Changes
- Claiming that the victim of a well-documented violent tragedy is a crisis actor, or is lyingEncouraging others to DDoS, hack, doxx, or swat another personInciting malicious raids of another person’s social media profiles off Twitch
- Emotes are an important part of how we communicate with one another on Twitch, but they can be used maliciously. So emote combinations, even without additional text used in chat, will be held to this policyGiven its historic and symbolic association with slavery and white supremacist groups in the US, displaying the Confederate flag is prohibited
- Repeatedly commenting on someone’s perceived attractiveness, even in what you believe to be a positive or complimentary manner, is prohibited if there is indication that it’s unwelcome (i.e. you’ve been asked to stop, timed-out, or channel-banned)Making lewd or explicit comments about anyone’s sexuality or physical appearance is prohibited. Note that we do not make an exception for public figuresSending unwanted/unsolicited links to nude images or videos is prohibited
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