Twitch streamers are organizing a boycott of the Twitch streaming platform in protest of hate raids – a sudden and uncontrollable eruption of hateful messages that have been affecting marginalized streamers for some time now. In addition, the community is also protesting the company’s inaction in preventing said hate raids.
Hate raids have infested Twitch streaming platform over the last few weeks, primarily targeting marginalized streamers, making their streaming flow less than ideal. Hate raids are the newest addition to already known problems Twitch is suffering from, prompting many to consider abandoning the platform altogether. However, there are those willing to fight. According to IGN, several streamers are set to go on strike across the platform in an attempt to push, or rather coerce, Twitch to do more about hate raids, and hate speech directed towards marginalized streamers on the platform.
The boycott, set to happen on September 1st, is organized by Twitch streamers Rek It Raven, LuciaEverBlack, and Shineypen, under the hashtag #ADayOffTwitch, and follows the #TwitchDoBetter campaign set up to encourage Twitch to do something about hate raids. The latter was also organized by Rek It Raven after the raids on the streaming platform targeted several marginalized streamers. Twitch responded to the initial #TwitchDoBetter movement by promising new safety features implementations, including channel-level ban evasion detection and several account improvements that combat hate speech and inappropriate behavior such as racist, transphobic, and ableist messages.
Twitch also urged its streaming community to continue to report incidents and hate raid attacks in the meantime. However, a vast number of streamers seem to be on the receiving end of malicious users who seek to overwhelm their channels with hateful slurs, which prompted many to feel dissatisfied by the company’s actions in dealing with hateful attacks. Unfortunately, Twitch might be on the receiving end of things from the very same community it supposedly seeks to protect.
Hate raids, in which malicious users use raid mechanisms combined with bot accounts, are notoriously difficult to track and handle. Moreover, once an attack occurs, the chat becomes overloaded with hundreds upon hundreds of bot-generated accounts at a time, which slows down otherwise normal processes of chat management. A similar situation happened some time ago when Twitch banned over 7.5 million bot accounts used to inflate live view counts.
A vast number of streamers show solidarity with the “DayOfTwitch protest – a call for which already gathered 7,000 likes on Twitter, and its own Discord server acting as a safe space for those fighting hate speech on Twitch. Others, however, already prepared countermeasures in dealing with hateful internet trolls – a so-called “panic button.” It’s essentially a string of commands executed all at once, which disable the alert box and the on-stream chat, clears chat, and switches it to sub-only mode. An effective technique, but it only remedies the situation and doesn’t remove its cause.
Alas, this is just one in a string of many problems currently besieging the Twitch streaming platform. For example, Asmongold, an extremely popular full-time streamer best known for World of Warcraft video game streams, also criticized the platform for allowing NSFW streamers to “misuse” the platforms. And though he discontinued streaming World of Warcraft, which might be a dying game by all counts, Asmongold, considered by many as a streaming legend, is also considering quitting Twitch and reverting to his YouTube channel. Will others follow? Or will Twitch find more effective methods of dealing with hate raids and hateful speech?