Twitch’s new harassment rules have come under fire for banning words such as “simp,” “virgin,” and “incel.” However, the Amazon-owned company has clarified the terms aren’t being ‘blanket banned,’ and context will be taken into consideration.
Twitch came under fire on December 16 for introducing new changes to their “Hateful Conduct” policy that banned streamers and viewers from using words like “simp,” “incel,” and “virgin.”
The change in policy, which is set to be enacted on January 22, 2021, will apply both to chat and conduct on the screen. They are not the only words Twitch are cracking down on, with the Amazon-owned company looking towards all “sexually-focused terms” used “negatively.”
Under Twitch's new policy, words like "simp", "incel", and "virgin" will be considered insults and against TOS 😳pic.twitter.com/aFC3y7Zmvy
— DEXERTO.COM (@Dexerto) December 16, 2020
The policy fell flat with the community, with many questioning Twitch’s ability to judge nuance in comments given the platform’s recent track record with suspensions.
However, the company has released a statement clearing up misconceptions about the policy, stating they won’t be enacting a “blanket ban.” Instead, they’ll heavily rely on context to justify harassment claims.
“We wanted to clear up any misunderstandings about language that can be used on Twitch. At the core of it, we’re focused on doing what we can to protect our community from harassment,” they said in a December 17 statement.
“We do not have a blanket ban on the use of words like ‘simp’ in casual banter, but will take action when words like this (amongst others) are used to harass and harm community members.”
We wanted to clear up any misunderstandings about language that can be used on Twitch. At the core of it, we’re focused on doing what we can to protect our community from harassment.
— Twitch (@Twitch) December 18, 2020
The ruling, however, has been further critcized by the community after Twitch’s clarification. The broad terms of enforcement has concerned users who believe Twitch might wrongfully ban users with the new policy.
“Harass and harm are vague and subjective terms that open the door for selective enforcement. If harassing and harming people is against the ToS already, then why attach words to its enforcement if the words can be used in an innocuous context,” Asmongold said.
Harass and harm are vague and subjective terms that open the door for selective enforcement
If harassing and harming people is against the ToS already, then why attach words to its enforcement if the words can be used in an innocuous context?
— Zack (@Asmongold) December 18, 2020
Twitch’s new hateful conduct policy is set to be put in place on January 22.