A new open letter from Angela Hession, Twitch’s vice president of global trust and safety, details the company’s approach to making its streaming platform a more harmonious place, most notably the deletion of millions of bots in an attempt to stem the site’s hate raid epidemic.
“In the past 12 months, we launched some of the most powerful tools yet to help make Twitch as safe as possible for as many people as possible,” Hession writes. “We also introduced several landmark policies that help protect the community against new and evolving threats of all kinds.
“However, in that same time, our community experienced some of the most vicious attacks ever seen against streamers,” Hession continues, “particularly streamers of colour, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and military veterans. This kind of behaviour has no place on Twitch and we know there’s more we can do to protect our community.”
The absurdity of putting pushback against military recruitment on the same level as the persistent harassment of Black and queer folks aside, Hession goes on to explain some of the steps Twitch has taken toward these goals. The biggest involve the removal of more than 15 million bots used to spread toxic messages in stream chat and suing those responsible for hate raids. Twitch expects that number to grow despite implementing phone number-verified chat privileges and new tools for detecting suspicious users.
Hession’s letter also reiterates Twitch’s commitment to enforcing the off-service misconduct policy the site introduced last April. If utilised correctly, this should keep folks responsible for the most heinous offences (death threats, exploitation of children, etc.) off Twitch and potentially protect users from having that kind of abuse follow them to and from other social media platforms.
2022 plans include improvements to the user reporting and appeals process, updates to how streamers can use suspicious user information, and more.
“As I mentioned, safety is not an end state,” Hession adds. “There is so much more to come. We’ll continue to listen to and gather more of your feedback, roll out new policies and products, and share consistent updates around our progress.”