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Twitch Under Fire After Racist Bots Target Black Streamers

Twitch Under Fire After Racist Bots Target Black Streamers

It's a big problem still.



Words by: Catherine Lewis

After several days of online petitioning, Twitch has responded to the #TwitchDoBetter campaign, which was started after surges of racist bots were used to attack streamers of colour. The hashtag was first used by streamer RekItRaven, who wanted to bring attention to the influx of racism that was going completely unmoderated by the platform. They tweeted earlier this week: "And it's happened again. This is absolutely enough. If you're taking 1/2 of our income then why are marginalized people still subject to lackluster safety protocols? #TwitchDoBetter <-- use the hashtag, don't just retweet".

RekItRaven had quote-retweeted Solo, a streamer of colour who had been targeted. They shared on Twitter a screenshot of hateful messages that had been spammed in their chat by a number of different bot accounts, after being follow-botted. This screenshot contains hurtful and offensive language, so reader discretion is advised.

Yesterday, Twitch finally responded on their Twitter page: "You're asking us to do better, and we know we need to do more to address these issues. That includes an open and ongoing dialogue about creator safety," they wrote. "Thank you to everyone who shared these difficult experiences. We were able to identify a vulnerability in our proactive filters, and have rolled out an update to close this gap and better detect hate speech in chat. We'll keep updating this to address emerging issues."

Although users are relieved that Twitch has put new measures in place to hopefully prevent these racist attacks from occurring, the general feeling is bittersweet, as racially motivated harassment is sadly nothing new on the platform. Previously, Twitch updated its Hateful Conduct and Harassment guidelines in 2020 to prevent racist attacks, but streamers of colour have continued to be targeted since. It's also worth noting that the platform cracked down on the use of the word "simp", and has even put bans in place for cartoon emotes of birds before identifying and fixing this huge, dangerous vulnerability in their filters.

It's yet to be seen if these new changes will be effective, and in the meantime, streamers can block raids and set their chats to followers-only mode if this makes them feel safer. However, it should be reiterated that users should not have to feel like they need to take these measures on a platform that should be safe for everyone - effective change needs to happen.

Featured Image Credit: 卡晨 via Unsplash / Twitch

Topics: no article matching, News, Twitch