Twitch Will Ban Streamers For Off-Platform Conduct And Harassment

Twitch has given a clearer outline for how it will handle off-platform harassment and serious misconduct. In a blog post, the company categorized off-platform harassment into two sections: Harassment that occurs on Twitch and other platforms, and harassment that takes place entirely off-platform. Prior to this, its policy for the latter was not written out in detail.

Category one covers cases where harassment takes place both on Twitch and off of it. Citing a specific example of what counts as the first category, Twitch stated that it would take related harassment on Twitter into account when investigating a reported misconduct incident during a Twitch livestream.

The newer part is category two: Twitch will now "enforce against serious offenses that pose a substantial safety risk to the Twitch community, even if these actions occur entirely off Twitch." The platform goes on to enumerate what behaviors fall under this umbrella, including:

Deadly violence and violent extremism
Terrorist activities or recruiting
Explicit and/or credible threats of mass violence (i.e. threats against a group of people, event, or location where people would gather).
Leadership or membership in a known hate group
Carrying out or acting as an accomplice to non-consensual sexual activities and/or sexual assault
Sexual exploitation of children, such as child grooming and solicitation/distribution of underage sexual materials
Actions that would directly and explicitly compromise the physical safety of the Twitch community, such as threatening violence at a Twitch event
Explicit and/or credible threats against Twitch, including Twitch staff

Twitch has enlisted the help of a third-party investigative law firm to help support investigations. It also opened an email address, [email protected], where anybody can send evidence of off-platform misconduct that falls under behavior listed in the blogpost. The company noted that its investigative scope for off-platform incidents is limited: It can only deal with reported behavior that is explicitly listed under the sections listed in category two.

Banning people for off-platform behavior isn't new for Twitch. The platform banned several individuals during a wave of sexual abuse allegations against popular Twitch streamers in 2020. Super Smash Bros. Streamer ZeRo was banned from Twitch after he admitted he sent sexually explicit messages to minors.

Twitch's clarification of off-platform harassment policies comes after updating its Hateful Conduct and Harassment in January 2021. In the new changes, Twitch clarified what behaviors are not acceptable, citing specific examples such as "sharing hateful images or symbols" and "targeting others with repeated or severe personal attacks."

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