Twitch clarifies “N word” policy due to confusion from streamers

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After introducing updates to their Hateful Conduct and Harassment Policy that were criticized by the community, Twitch has announced new guidelines surrounding the use of certain racial slurs on the streaming service.

On December 9, Twitch announced an update to the platform’s Hateful Conduct and Harassment Policy. The updates include more protections for groups on the platform, “particularly women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, Black, Indigenous, and people of color.”

Twitch stated then that their goals were “to take a clearer and more consistent stance against hate and harassment, and to give you [the community] greater insight on what is and isn’t acceptable on Twitch.”

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Following that first announcement, Twitch issued a series of tweets on December 19 confirming their stance on the use of racial slurs, particularly “the N word.”

Twitch has made it clear that any use of the word as a racial slur will not be tolerated, and it has already been blocked across the entire service.

The platform’s Twitter account issued a follow-up, stating that “regardless of spelling or pronunciation, slurs used for the purpose of hate or harassment are not allowed.”

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While many users posted positive responses and praised Twitch for taking action, others were critical that it took this long for the site to take action, blocking other phrases before apparently getting around to this.

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In another recent policy update, Twitch also added clarifications on the use of terms like “simp,” “incel,” and “virgin,” and update that was widely criticized by the Twitch community, and actually led to a major increase in the use of all of the targeted terms.

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Twitch did issue another statement clarifying their position after that update too. Clarifying that they “will take action when words like this (amongst others) are used to harass and harm community members.”

The change in policy, which is scheduled to start on January 22, 2021, will apply to both chat and conduct on-screen. It remains to be seen what other phrases or words might be blocked as well, but Twitch has promised to answer community questions before the change goes into effect.

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Based on the responses so far, we’d wager there will be quite a few come time for that Q&A.

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