Live-streaming platform Twitch has experienced significantly low traffic and minimal usage as most of its users, including its biggest streamers, decided to stay off of the site last Wednesday. This happened after the movement #ADayOffTwitch trended to protest the site’s lack of protection against some of its streamers.
To those who are not familiar, live-streaming platforms such as Twitch allow its users to broadcast a live feed and stream any type of content such as cooking, make-up tutorials, and playing video games. In addition, the hosts can also interact with their fans and followers through comments and chat.
Due to its accessibility and flexibility, the live-streaming industry has exploded over the past few years, giving rise to a community of like-minded individuals who love to talk about their shared interests. At the same time, many content creators shot to fame and became known as social media influencers.
However, as Twitch and its streamers started to gain more popularity, problems also began to surface. One of the most concerning issues content creators experience on the platform is called a hate raid. This happens when a streamer’s chat is flooded with harmful and hateful messages, which usually come from bot accounts. To make matters worse, these ill-natured accounts can reach up to hundreds attacking and spamming one stream, making it very difficult for streamers and their moderators to control.
This malicious activity has caused an uproar within the community where the majority called on Twitch to update its policies and increase safety measures on the site. Yet it seems like the live-streaming giant has made no definitive action.
Because of this, the users of the platform decided to perform a day-long boycott in solidarity with those users who have fallen victim to this scheme. But more importantly, the goal of the protest is to alert and put pressure on the upper management of Twitch in the hopes of persuading them to take action against hate raids and the rampant harassment happening on the site.
The call to action was primarily done via Twitter through the hashtag #ADayOffTwitch. Aside from that, an infographic has been circulated which outlines the community’s demands from the Twitch team.
The boycott did not come as a surprise. When companies like Twitch fail to proactively resolve relevant issues within their domain, such as these hate raids and speech, the community is bound to band together and protect one another.
When asked for a statement on the ongoing controversy, Twitch responded and said, “We support our streamers’ rights to express themselves and bring attention to important issues across our service. No one should have to experience malicious and hateful attacks based on who they are or what they stand for, and we are working hard on improved channel-level ban evasion detection and additional account improvements to help make Twitch a safer place for creators.”
For now, the problem remains unresolved, and the Twitch community and the public are yet to see how sincere the company is in its promise to protect its users.