A proposal put before the United States House of Representatives in hopes of preventing the military from using platforms like Twitch for recruiting has been voted down. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposed the amendment to the House Appropriations bill after filing it over a week ago. The move followed some controversy within the past few weeks regarding esports divisions of the U.S. military branches were conducting themselves on Twitch. Questionable giveaways and bans of people who spoke out against groups within the Twitch chat were just some of the incidents that took place.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez spoke out against the practice of recruiting people to the military via Twitch ahead of the vote on the measure. Twitch attracts audiences across all ages, and some of the banners viewers may see on the platform would allow young individuals to fill out forms showing interest in the military, she said.
“We cannot conflate war and military service with this kind of gamified format,” she said.
.@AOC: Children on platforms such as Twitch are bombarded with banners ads that link to military recruitment sign up forms that can be submitted by children as young as 12 years old. pic.twitter.com/9N7u2R9TjN— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) July 30, 2020
Addressing the measure further, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez referenced the difficulty of trying to explain something like Twitch to members of Congress. She said tech literacy is becoming a growing need in Congress and that even though this measure was ultimately defeated in its first appearance, the support it garnered was a “really solid start” for the issue.
When our legislative bodies aren’t sufficiently responsive to tech, then that means we don’t have the tools required to protect people.
This is partially why companies know way more about you than you may even be aware of - bc it’s legal, and Congress is struggling to keep up.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 30, 2020
The good news: a majority of the Dem party supported this amendment.
That’s a really solid start for this being the first time this issue has been brought before Congress.
We’ve made great strides since *that* Senate FB hearing, but we’ve got a lot of room to still improve!— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 30, 2020
Issues of bans levied against people who spoke out against the military branches via Twitch chat brought up discussions of First Amendment rights as people questioned if the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy had the right to ban people from Twitch chat since they are extensions of the government. Twitch previously asked the U.S. Army to cease its giveaways because they weren’t transparent enough.