Twitch updates harassment policy, targets sexual harassment

Jessica Scharnagle • December 9, 20:32

Twitch announced today that it will be updating its Hateful Conduct and Harassment Policy. 

In the article, Twitch explains that many people on Twitch continue to experience a large amount of harassment and abuse that occurs on the platform. This update particularly aims to target those who sling abuse at women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, black, Indigenous, and other people of color. 

What was added to the new Hateful Conduct and Harassment Policy on Twitch?

There are three sections that Twitch has identified in order to update the policy. Harassment, hateful conduct, and sexual harassment policies are getting updates, clarifications, and additions.

Below is each section and what Twitch has outlined as the biggest behaviors that will be prohibited in the new policy:

Harassment

  • Claiming that the victim of a well-documented violent tragedy is a crisis actor, or is lying
  • Encouraging others to DDoS, hack, doxx, or swat another person
  • Inciting malicious raids of another person’s social media profiles off Twitch

Hateful Conduct:

  • Emotes are an important part of how viewers communicate with one another on Twitch, but they can be used maliciously. So emote combinations, even without additional text used in chat, will be held to this policy 
  • Given its historic and symbolic association with slavery and white supremacist groups in the US, displaying the Confederate flag is prohibited 

Sexual Harassment:

  • Repeatedly commenting on someone’s perceived attractiveness, even in what you believe to be a positive or complementary manner, is prohibited if there is an indication that it’s unwelcome (i.e. they have 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 Twitch does not make an exception for public figures
  • Sending unwanted/unsolicited links to nude images or videos is prohibited

What does Twitch’s new Policy mean for users?

Before this update, there were many behaviors that were exhibited on Twitch that were unpunished and allowed to continue. The biggest change that users of the site are excited about is the sexual harassment updates.

Many of the people that Twitch has specifically made this update for have experienced all three of the notable changes listed. It is not hard to find a female streamer who has experienced at least one of the three, but the most prominent behavior reported by women is recieving unsolicited comments about their appearance. 

Streamer Iman “Pokimane” Anys is the prime example, especially after her latest drama, which resulted in the popular streamer receiving a slew of horrible messages aimed at her appearance and private life. Many streamers are glad Twitch is updating their policies to include behaviors such as this, especially when they can be held to the behavior outside of Twitch’s platform. 

The policy will take effect on January 22, and any content created on or after that date will be held to the new standard.

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