Twitch Details Its New Community Guidelines, Definition of Hate Speech

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Ahead of its updated guideline reinforcement on March 5th, Twitch has released a detailed breakdown of what's changing on the platform and how users can combat harmful behavior. 

Firstly, Twitch details what it considers hateful speech, the use of which is "strictly prohibited" on the platform. The following, as detailed by Twitch, is "activity that promotes, encourages, or facilitates discrimination, denigration, objectification, harassment, or violence based on the following characteristics, and is strictly prohibited:"

  • Race, ethnicity or national origin
  • Religion
  • Sex, Gender or Gender Identity
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Age
  • Disability or Medical Condition
  • Physical Characteristics
  • Veteran Status

"Twitch will consider a number of factors to determine the intent and context of any reported hateful conduct," the company said.

To combat this type of behavior, Twitch asks its streamers to use automatic moderation tools or build a moderation team to filter out hateful behavior while they're offline or away from their computer. As long as a streamer isn't turning a blind eye to prohibited activity in their chat, Twitch says, they shouldn't worry about any "punitive actions" being taken on their channel.

"As a streamer, you are responsible for the content on your stream," the company said. "Twitch asks you to make a good faith effort to moderate interactive elements of your stream such as setting a word filter or a notification delay to give yourself a chance to moderate incoming notifications. Ultimately, you will have to decide what steps are right for your stream and your community’s behavior in order to abide by the Community Guidelines. Remember to temporarily disable or mute any unmoderated interactive elements such as text-to-speech if you step away from your computer."

In terms of responsibility a streamer has when it comes to their audience, Twitch puts a lot into the streamers hands, saying, "Creators are role models and leaders of the communities they create or foster around them." Twitch says creators should be mindful of their words and actions during a stream and try to prohibit any behavior from an audience that may lead to harassment. 

"Twitch should not be used to incite, encourage, promote, facilitate or organize hateful conduct or harassment, whether on or off Twitch. We will suspend communities, organizations, and individuals that do so," Twitch said.

Twitch is now moderating off-Twitch content, saying that harassment towards Twitch users can stem away from the platform. "Our desire to moderate verifiable off-Twitch harassment stems from our belief that ignoring conduct when we are able to verify and attribute it to a Twitch account compromises one of our most important goals: every Twitch user can bring their whole authentic selves to the Twitch community without fear of harassment," Twitch added.

But to do this, the company says it won't be monitoring other websites looking for harassment. Any harassment made against a Twitch user off-platform needs to be reported to Twitch's moderation team. According to the company, the following is grounds must be met in the report:

  • The links provided are verifiable
  • The content can be directly tied to the reported Twitch user
  • The target of harassment is another Twitch user, group of Twitch users or Twitch employees
  • The moderation team determines the conduct violates our policies

Twitch also comments on what kind of clothing is appropriate to be worn during streaming, especially if the platform deems it against its no nudity and sexual activity stance. 

"We recommend creators wear attire that would be publicly appropriate for the context, location and activity they are broadcasting," Twitch said. "For example, workout clothes would be appropriate for a fitness stream and a swimsuit would be appropriate for a stream from a public beach."

All of Twitch's new guidelines will go in to effect on March 5th. "We expect creators to make a good faith effort to remove any hateful, harassing, and sexually suggestive content from their channel," Twitch concludes.