In an effort to curb the tide of hate raids, Twitch has deployed a number of new verification tools that should hopefully make it harder for bad actors to ruin streams, and offer streamers greater control over who gets to join their chat.
Twitch is adding phone verification chat, which allows streamers and their moderators to only limit livestream chat access to viewers who verified their phone numbers. The company is also updating the existing email verification system.
The idea is that both can be used together to verify, as much as possible, that the viewer is a real person, which should help keep bots away. Users are allowed up to five Twitch accounts per phone number, but if one account gets suspended from Twitch, the rest are gone, too. And, if one account gets banned from a specific channel, the rest will.
Streamers and mods can require all chatters to do this, or only first-time chatters. They can further customise filters to specifically limit users with fresh accounts (setting the account age), and those who haven't been following the channel for a set amount of time. The new features are turned off by default, and creators can even exempt certain members if they choose.
Lastly, Twitch is working on better tools to combat ban evasion, which will be launching over the coming months.
This feature has been many months in the making, but our work is not done. We’re actively building additional solutions to keep communities on Twitch safe, and welcome your feedback on Uservoice: https://t.co/L40vBSAZH7— Twitch (@Twitch) September 29, 2021
Hate raid is a term that refers to the act of flooding a streamer's chat with homophobia, racism, sexism and all kinds of abusive behaviour. The people behind this rely on bot networks that mass-create Twitch accounts and help them target any streamer they want. Usually, however, the victims are small streamers from marginalised groups, and it has ruined streams for many of them.
The trend has seen a massive uptick in recent weeks, to the point that some streamers considered leaving the platform altogether. Twitch previously had the standard tech company response to this problem; simply pointing users to the platform's existing reporting tools, so it’s good to see more targeted work is being done.
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