The far-left Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has said that Twitch, the Amazon-owned video streaming platform, should invest even more resources into censorship tools — even after the platform twice banned Donald Trump, first temporarily during the campaign season, and then permanently in January.
Twitch streams are usually accompanied by a live chat feature, which can be censored by moderators appointed by the streamer in question. It is these community-moderated chatrooms that the ADL is targeting.
Via the ADL:
We found that certain aspects of Twitch, when used effectively, can make its spaces more resilient against harassment than other platforms. For example, text messages in Twitch chat are ephemeral—they cannot be engaged with individually like content on platforms like Facebook, where options to like and reply to specific comments appear even on comments in livestreaming video. Other factors appear to be the extensive and customizable suite of tools Twitch provides to community moderators to address hate. However, this suite is not consistent across Twitch as the problems that plagued a recent Twitch event hosted by comedian Jimmy Fallon on April 6 shows. And even platform announcement events hosted by Twitch itself have turned into spaces full of hate and harassment.
Comparing various Twitch streams hosted by politicians and regular streamers, the ADL argued that the Amazon-owned platform should make it easier for streamers to moderate their chatrooms, and even suggested that moderation — which is currently optional to streamers — be made a requirement for any public figure using the platform.
One significant lesson is that politicians and public figures interested in engaging with Twitch should connect with experienced community moderators and researchers familiar with the platform to create positive spaces for discussion and political engagement. We also recommend that Twitch require public figures to engage experienced community moderators before hosting events, and the company dedicates additional resources, training, and compensation to ensure a robust pipeline of skilled and experienced community moderators help make the platform a more welcoming space for all people.
Twitch continues to escalate its censorship. Earlier this month, the platform announced it would penalize users for offline activity as well as online activity.
In a comment to Reuters, the liberal digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation condemned the trend of platforms moderating people’s offline activity.
“This isn’t content moderation, this is conduct moderation,” said Corynne McSherry, legal director at the EFF.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.