Mon. Nov 28th, 2022
What you say about Twitch can now affect your position on Twitch.

What you say about Twitch can now affect your position on Twitch.

The video game streaming platform Twitch has long taken a proactive stance against harassment, with a detailed set of community guidelines and tools like AutoMod aimed at protecting streamers and viewers alike. But an update to those guidelines announced Thursday caught our attention as it extends that protection to other online platforms to some extent.

As Twitch announced the changes in a blog post, “We will now consider verifiably hateful or harassing behavior that occurs outside of Twitch when making moderation decisions for actions that occur on Twitch. If you use other services to promote hate or harassment of anyone on Twitch , we will consider it a violation of Twitch’s policy.”

In other words, harassing comments left on a streamer’s YouTube or Twitter account (or anywhere “outside of Twitch”) can now help get the bully banned from Twitch. As far as we know, it’s rare for a content moderation policy to go beyond a platform’s own virtual walls and run across the wider internet.

This new policy does not mean that Twitch will actively monitor other platforms for harassment of its streamers or anything like that. But now, “when submitting a report, users can provide documentation illustrating harassment from any source,” a Twitch spokesperson told Ars. That specifically includes “things like public social media sites,” the spokesperson said, “but we’ll only consider cases we can personally verify.”

Twitch told Ars that no specific incident led to the new Community Policy, but that it is in response to a general issue that some users have been dealing with. “People occasionally mentioned public harassment on other platforms to support a claim, but our policy was limited to things that only happened on our service,” Twitch said. “While it’s not a widespread problem, it’s important that our community has this option.”

On the one hand, this kind of cross-border extension of community guidelines can help quell committed harassment that essentially floods users with aggressive messages across multiple online platforms. If other popular social platforms rolled out similar guidelines, they could make it much more difficult for bullies to track their targets after being blocked from one medium of communication.

On the other hand, there is something strange about applying your own rules to behavior that happens elsewhere on the internet. In theory, under this system, a Twitch user could be punished for comments that were not considered harassment where they were posted, but goods considered harassment under specific Twitch guidelines.

The whole thing reminds us a bit of schools trying to punish students for actions that take place outside of school, for better or for worse. Whether these kinds of policies come closer to protecting common sense or intrusive force majeure, of course, depends on the specific way they’re enforced, and we’ll be watching with interest to see how Twitch’s new policies pan out.

By akfire1

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