Streamers from the Twitch platform called for a live broadcasting strike this Wednesday in protest against the wave of racist and misogynistic harassment faced by many content creators and demand that the popular Amazon platform take measures to better protect them.
“Today is #ADayOffTwitch (” a day without Twitch “, in English) and frankly … it is cathartic,” he wrote on his Twitter account RekItRaven, a player who self-defines “non-binary”, that is to say,thatHe does not identify himself as a man or a woman.
Raven and other content creators teamed up to push this strike against the popular streaming platform. “We brought forward the date because it is not just harassment anymore. The attacked people see their personal information broadcast on Twitch. It was getting dangerous,” he said.
Streamer RekItRaven, a self-described “non-binary” gamer, leads the strike against Twitch. Photo: capture.
Due to recurring waves of racism and references to the white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan, Raven recently launched on Twitter the tagline #TwitchDoBetter (Twitch make it better). Dozens of users, mainly non-white and / or from the LGBTQ community, joined this banner to denounce the inaction of the platform.
For its part, a Twitch source said that the platform “support the rights of streamers to discuss and report important issues. “
“No one should have to suffer malicious attacks because of who they are or because of their opinions, and we are working hard to prevent banned accounts from passing through filters, as well as improvements to make Twitch safer for creators,” they detailed.
Launched in 2011 and acquired by Amazon three years later, Twitch receives more than 30 million visitors per day, most of them attracted by the video game format with live commentary and by the stars of the sector.
But all kinds of personalities and activities coexist on the platform.
Gabriel Erikkson Sahlin, a Swedish teacher, plays The Sims and Dragon Age under the nickname of BabblingGoat(babbling goat).
Streamer BabblingGoat has more than 4,000 followers on Twitch.
This 24-year-old transgender man by birth answers questions from his audience about gender identity “while jumping on gaming platforms and trying not to die,” he sums up with a laugh.
Thus, it helps young people, but also anxious parents whose children want to “transition”.
But he says he feels tested by the resurgence of hatred in recent months: “This morning I said to myself, do I really want to connect? I have a 99% chance of being bullied“.
The initiative also has the support of Ibai Llanos, the popular Spanish streamer and second best worldwide on the platform, who expressed this on his channel for his 7.6 million followers.
“Despite not understanding, it seems to me that from my position what I should do is respect and support these types of movements, which I understand are complicated in the United States. So this Wednesday I will not do direct, “he said Tuesday before interviewing the Spanish player Saul who has just signed with Chelsea.
Hate messages and harassment on Twitch
The forays from a handful of people posting transphobic insults until programmed robots to bombard him with messages (“You should make the world a better place by jumping off a bridge”) and even ultraviolent images (like beheadings).
“We know we have to do more to address these issues,” Twitch admitted in mid-August, when Raven’s catchphrase rose to prominence.
The platform said it was preparing new security measures and that had repaired a fault in his automatic filters. Something that did not work, according to the players.
However, they have ideas to identify and exclude those responsible: two-factor authentication, delays imposed on new accounts before enabling them to participate in conversations, increased powers for moderators …
Anyway, trolls have no shortage of methods. According to the victims, they use coders’ jargon, which consists of misspelling forbidden words to get through the cracks in the algorithms.
Ibai Llanos, the second most popular streamer on Twitch, went on strike. YouTube photo
“They always find a way,” says Mark Griffiths, a video game psychologist at Nottingham Trent University, England.
The impression of anonymity and the feeling of impunity also facilitate these behaviors. “The police are taking these cases more and more seriously”, but “video game publishers still consider them insignificant,” he laments.
Chonki, a Jewish player who was inundated with anti-semitic messages and images of swastikas, he also questions the lack of support from the platform’s stars.
He would like those who have “partner” status, and therefore have considerable influence, to stop “tolerating racist and misogynistic comments on his channel.”
But even if that situation doesn’t improve, players don’t have many alternatives.
For Chonki and Raven, leaving would be like quitting your job. Hence his anger at Twitch’s lack of responsiveness. “They take 50% of our income and they can’t even protect us from harassment,” Chonki says.