Student Interest

Is Twitch Overstepping Its Boundaries?

Twitch is an online service owned by Amazon that allows individuals to share their gameplay and other content through live streams. As much as it gives many options to its users in terms of shareable content and potential activities, the website is also known for its strict limitations in individual behaviors, such as the banning of racial slurs, as well as other vocabularies that could be considered offensive to certain groups of people.

Twitch also has strict monitoring to prevent abuse or disruptive behavior, which includes activities such as brigading (an event where a large number of people purposefully visit another content creator’s live stream with the intent of negatively impacting their experience). These policies have given Twitch the reputation of a tyrant, however, they adamantly claim that their actions allow for a safer environment for people to gather and interact. 

The Latest Controversy

As Twitch continues to delve deeper into these controversial topics of limiting, and in some cases outright banning different words and related content, they have recently announced a new stance on the actions of different streamers, and the consequences they will face.

For the first time in social media history, the streaming service has decided to monitor its users’ activities outside of its own platform. For example, it is common for YouTubers to behave differently in social media such as Twitter or Instagram when compared to their in-character video counterparts. However, Twitch’s administrators aim to fix this by monitoring the social media activity of a streamer outside of their platform, meaning that streamers will have to maintain a clean track record even when they are not on-air. 

While their intentions are good, people are questioning whether or not Twitch is overstepping their boundaries, questioning whether people’s livelihoods should constantly be on the hook, regardless of whether they are actively on-duty or not. As a response to these complaints, the company explained that this change will increase the overall stability of the platform, by preemptively eliminating individuals who could cause damage to the image of the company and their peers, as many people already identify words such as “streamer” or “YouTuber” with a negative connotation.

What Comes Next?

As a private service, Twitch and its admins have every right to do whatever they want with their platform’s policy. However, allowing this streaming giant to enforce its rules across other, unrelated platforms could set a dangerous precedent and cause other corporations to follow suit. 

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