Twitch has announced that it is making strides to address harassment and misconduct from streamers that occurs off-service. While the company has previously had some of these guidelines in place, Twitch is now expanding its focus, in order to better protect users. The company also hopes that by explicitly stating its policies towards off-line conduct, it can better ensure that streamers are aware of their expectations moving forwards. Activities that fall under this umbrella include sexual harassment, threats against Twitch staff members, threatening violence, and more. A full list of the guidelines directly from Twitch's blog post can be found below.
Category one: Someone is harassed on Twitch, as well as off Twitch. When this happens, we will take into account verifiable, off-service behaviors or statements that relate to an incident that took place on Twitch. For example: if we’re reviewing a harassment report about an incident that happened live on stream, related or continued harassment on Twitter could be taken into account when reported to us. This is how our current off-service policy works in the vast majority of cases, and will not change.
Category two: We will now enforce against serious offenses that pose a substantial safety risk to the Twitch community, even if these actions occur entirely off Twitch. Examples of these behaviors include:
- Deadly violence and violent extremism
- Terrorist activities or recruiting
- Explicit and/or credible threats of mass violence (i.e. threats against a group of people, event, or location where people would gather).
- Leadership or membership in a known hate group
- Carrying out or acting as an accomplice to non-consensual sexual activities and/or sexual assault
- Sexual exploitation of children, such as child grooming and solicitation/distribution of underage sexual materials
- Actions that would directly and explicitly compromise the physical safety of the Twitch community, such as threatening violence at a Twitch event
- Explicit and/or credible threats against Twitch, including Twitch staff
While some of these guidelines might seem a bit more obvious than others, including them all in one places makes it easier for streamers to know exactly what is expected of them. The blog post is quick to point out that this list is not all-encompassing. The company considers this an ongoing process, and more changes will likely come over time.
As Twitch continues to grow increasingly popular, it becomes all the more important that users are protected from these types of actions. It remains to be seen how the company will handle implementing these policies, and it's possible that there will be some struggles. There might even be pushback from some streamers regarding off-service activities. However, the goal is to make the platform a safer place, and these policies should help Twitch better serve that goal.
What do you think of Twitch's updated policies? Are you hopeful about the company's plans? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!