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Twitch Rolls Out Updated Harassment and Hateful Conduct Policies

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Twitch has rolled out one of the most targeted and far-reaching guidelines, as it has implemented updated conduct policies on harassment and hateful conduct, according to an official press release issued by the company.

The Amazon-owned streaming platform is working hard to improve the overall experience for the millions of twitch channels as viewership has hit monumental heights in 2020.

“Every day, millions of people come together on Twitch to share their passion and skill, support their favorite streamers, and connect with friends” the company said, in part, during their announcement on Wednesday. “Communities on Twitch are diverse and are growing rapidly, representing nearly every interest, background, and language around the globe. As we evolve, it’s necessary to revisit and update policies to make sure all streamers and all communities can create together safely on Twitch.

“Today, we’re introducing an updated Hateful Conduct and Harassment Policy. This new policy will take effect on January 22, 2021. Content created on or after January 22 will be evaluated under the new guidelines.

These changes are intended to better protect the community, not to be punitive, so we are sharing them before the updated policy goes into effect to ensure you have adequate time to understand what is changing. During this education period, our Safety team will continue to moderate content using the existing guidelines. We understand that any change in policy
requires you to invest time to read the new language and consider how it might impact your behavior, and we are grateful for your support as we work together to make Twitch safer for everyone.”

The company also explained why these changes are rolling out now:

“We know that many people on Twitch–particularly women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, Black, Indigenous, and people of color–unfortunately continue to experience a disproportionate amount of harassment and abuse online,  including on our service. Not only is this blatantly unacceptable, it also undermines the community we’re building on Twitch and threatens the long term viability of streaming as a career for everyone who wishes to pursue it.”

“We developed the new policy to take a clearer and more consistent stance against hate and harassment, and to give you greater insight on what is and isn’t acceptable on Twitch. Hateful conduct and harassment have always been prohibited, but we’ve added more detail explaining the behaviors that fall into these categories. We’ve also added specific examples to help you understand how the policy is applied in practice.

This policy is the culmination of a months-long process incorporating extensive research within our community and consultation with industry experts across fields, as well as our Safety Advisory Council. We also drew heavily on a review of past cases to identify edge cases, and opportunities for clarification. Understanding how we’ve historically enforced these policies helped us address common points of confusion and increase enforcement consistency.”

Twitch also addressed issues with sexual harassment of their content creators, specifically female streamers.

“While sexual harassment has always been prohibited on Twitch, we’ve heard from our community that our guidelines didn’t adequately account for harassing behaviors that are sexual in nature. With this update we’ve separated sexual harassment into its own category and adopted a much lower tolerance for objectifying or harassing behavior.

Notable changes include:

● 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 figures

● Sending unwanted/unsolicited links to nude images or videos is prohibited

This is another step toward recognizing our safety visions for Twitch. We do recognize we still
have a lot of work to do, and we are committed to investing the necessary time and resources to
get this right. We also want to acknowledge our appreciation to you, the community, for joining
us in this shared commitment to make Twitch better, and for providing us with feedback along
the way.”

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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