As one of the most popular online streaming platforms, Twitch has seen its fair share of issues in regards to offensive content and censorship - which Twitch exec djWHEAT explained during an episode of the Dexerto Talk Show on April 8.
Twitch has undergone scrutiny for its handling of problematic situations that inevitably arise during live streams, such as the banning of one streamer for using the term “mongoloid” when he didn’t understand the word’s offensive connotation.
While the streamer later spoke out on the issue to clarify his lack of knowledge on the term, he was still banned for a 30-day period, inciting outrage from users across the internet.
Sadly I've been suspended for 30 days on twitch, going to try and fix this. It was for hateful conduct for the word "mongoloid". I didn't know the true meaning of it till now and I would like to apologize for this.
— James D'Arcangelo (@Cloneman16) March 18, 2019
Twitch's widespread moderation
Twitch’s Director of Creator Development, Marcus ‘djWheat’ Graham, addressed the issue in a conversation with Esports caster Richard Lewis, who brought up several of the platform’s more notable controversies - including streamer Hasan Piker’s ban for showing a documentary of the tragic Columbine shooting during a broadcast in early February.
“You can’t have robots doing it all, and also when you bring the humans into it… I totally appreciate that it is probably one of the most difficult things that any company on the internet [can do],” djWHEAT said of moderation on the platform. “Moderation on a mass scale is ridiculous.”
[Timestamp: 36:45 for mobile viewers]
Making transparency a priority
djWHEAT himself is an outspoken proponent for increased transparency on the site, stating that it could drastically improve relations with its community in regards to issues such as confusing bans.
“I personally would love to see more transparency,” he continued. “ I think transparency is the one thing that will get a community to at least be like, ‘Oh, okay, well you gave us a reason so we’re not making one up.’ Even if the reason is not the greatest.”
— Annie [Meru] (@misayi) September 29, 2015
Lewis likewise questioned djWHEAT on some users’ theories that moderators have an “inherent bias” toward high-profile streamers on the platform, such as Greekgodx’s take on why Alinity has managed to stay on the site - despite her multiple NSFW slip-ups.
“I won’t say it was the lack of a system, but I will say that this is where I feel like transparency is king,” djWHEAT said of the issue - specifically referring to Piker’s ban. “...That process is something that will probably still take years and years and years to build, and can it really be perfected anyway?
While it's likely that no system of enforcing rules on Twitch will ever be perfect, djWHEAT has assured viewers that they are striving for that goal, and ultimately seek to find an appropriate balance in the process.