Twitch has announced an updated set of guidelines it plans to use to address hateful conduct and harassment aimed at community members that happens off of its own platform.
The update is an expansion of Twitch’s previous guidelines for off-platform harassment, which are now split into two categories.
“Category one: Someone is harassed on Twitch, as well as off Twitch. When this happens, we will take into account verifiable, off-service behaviors or statements that relate to an incident that took place on Twitch. For example: if we’re reviewing a harassment report about an incident that happened live on stream, related or continued harassment on Twitter could be taken into account when reported to us. This is how our current off-service policy works in the vast majority of cases, and will not change.
“Category two: We will now enforce against serious offenses that pose a substantial safety risk to the Twitch community, even if these actions occur entirely off Twitch.”
Twitch states that category two violations include threats of mass violence or acts of violence, membership in a hate group, sexual exploitation of children/child grooming, and more. You can read Twitch’s blog post for the full list.
“These behaviors represent some of the most egregious types of physical and psychological harm, but we understand that this list is not inclusive of all types of harassment and abuse,” Twitch stated. “Taking action against misconduct that occurs entirely off our service is a novel approach for both Twitch and the industry at large, but it’s one we believe—and hear from you—is crucial to get right. Part of that means being clear with you about the limitations of our policy. At this time, we’re not able to investigate behaviors that occur entirely off Twitch that fall outside these categories. This is an iterative, ongoing process, and as always, our end goal is to build a safer Twitch for everyone. “
Twitch stated that it is bringing on an unnamed third-party investigative partner, an investigations law firm, to assist the company’s internal team, including Twitch’s internal law enforcement response team, which Twitch adds is also being expanded. Though unnamed, Twitch describes the law firm as a group with experience conducting independent workplace and campus investigations, including investigations related to sexual assault and discrimination.
Twitch has also created a confidential email address ([email protected]) where anyone can submit reports of misconduct that happens off of the streaming platform.
Twitch has made other recent moves to curb harassment on its platform, including banning the words “simp,” “incel,” or “virgin” when used in a derogatory context. Twitch also included additional language regarding sexual harassment, including messaging a user with unwanted compliments about their appearance, or comments about a user’s sexual proclivity.
Twitch also removed streamer Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez, known previously as the face of the “PogChamp” emote, after he tweeted a statement that appeared to call for further violence during the January 6 United States Capitol riot.
Joseph Knoop is a writer/producer for IGN.
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