This Wednesday, September 1, a worldwide strike has been called on Twitch. Live broadcasts strike and spectator strike. The reason is the inaction of the platform, owned by Amazon, given the increase in hate attacks against creators belonging to marginalized groups, such as LGBT or racialized people.
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On Twitch, these attacks are reproduced through a tool called raids. It is a function that allows streamers send your audience to another Twitch channel at the end of its broadcast, as a cross-channel endorsement and recommendation method. The problem is that in recent months its use to carry out racist, homophobic or sexist harassment in a group and in an organized manner has become popular: a channel is selected, the raid is executed and the target streamer’s chat is flooded with sudden insults and hate speech.
Those who suffer the most are usually the creators, who number only a few dozen viewers, but in seconds they can see how hundreds of users bombard their broadcast with all kinds of toxic messages. A part of the channels and users of Twitch, who have managed to revolutionize the broadcast of live content with a new communicative code, has proposed to react with this protest action to the toxicity that spreads through this network.
The strike has been organized from the English-speaking community on the platform, where hate raids have become an unpleasant normal for some streamers. But its scope is global, as are those affected. “I have suffered them,” he explains to elDiario.es Nnegry, a Spanish streamer with 29,000 followers. “Normally the raids work in a healthy way. Put that 200 people are seeing me on my channel and I send them to you so that those people see and support you. But there are people who are using the raids to send their community to others channels in order to generate hatred. ”
Despite complaints from streamers as a result of this situation, the platform has not taken any specific action to control these types of attacks. “Twitch does not give you any kind of tool. The only thing you can do is things like configure the chat so that people who have followed you for less than three days cannot write to you. But that is also a bitch, because people who want to talking to me normal and ordinary can not do it either, “he exposes.
The movement asks the platform to develop new options so that those affected can defend themselves against hate raids. Also to put more controls to be able to make comments to other users. Currently, all it takes to open a Twitch account and write to any streamer is an email. There is also no limit to the number of accounts that can be associated with the same email, so opening profiles intended to generate hate speech on the platform is relatively simple.
“It would be good to implement some kind of verification in two steps”, thinks in conversation with this medium Sara Yang, suwuyang on Twitch, where he has more than 4,000 followers. “Some of these attacks are also carried out with bots because it is very easy to automate the creation of accounts and program them to make certain offensive comments on a channel,” he denounces.
The silence of the stars
Numerous streamers with small or medium-sized communities have announced that they will support the strike and have asked their followers not to consume Twitch this Wednesday. However, the dissemination of the action in Spain has been hampered by the fact that no reference channel has supported the action. As a general rule, the Ibai Llanos, AuronPlay, the Rubius and the most followed streamers have avoided commenting on the strike call.
This has caused some streamers, while agreeing with the background of the protest, think that the strike will be useless. They believe that, without the pulling power of the big names, they will not be able to transcend the day-to-day running of the platform and achieve the necessary repercussion to put pressure on the company. “The accounts with the most influence in Spain have not spoken anything about this cause. The truth is that, as much as we small streamers stop, it seems difficult that this will have an impact on Twitch if the large ones do not support it,” says Yang.
Although the channels with the most impact have decided to avoid the issue since the strike for hate raids on Twitch has not taken up much space in the media, the truth is that the platform has made a move to protect from one of its events annual of the potential negative effects of this protest. It is the SUBtember (of the union of subscriber and september, September in English), which every September 1 allows users to subscribe to their preferred channels with an additional discount. This year, Twitch has decided to take place on June 2.
“I don’t know what follow-up it will have because the online strike is something that has hardly been tested on this scale,” says José Altozano, via email. DayoScript on various social networks (including Twitch, where he has 138,000 followers). “Of course they are talking about it, and there are many who want to talk about it, to comment on why it happens, what can be done, what the situation is. Part of me says that tomorrow nothing will happen. Another wants to believe that it will you will notice and that it may be the first step to something bigger. ”
“I know people who do not want to do direct out of fear, because it is enough for an idiot to arrive to screw your day,” explains this creator. “If the message comes to Twitch from more countries and not just the US, it is a message that sounds louder and clearer. Anyway, it is not a matter of waiting for a certain percentage of people to be screwed and then, now, yes , we get going, I say “.
This medium has contacted Twitch to include the platform’s position regarding hate raids and the creators’ strike, but the company has not sent any statement at the time of this information.