Twitch has received backlash after the chat in its own official channel was full of hateful comments during the Participation Awards ceremony.
As part of Twitch’s celebration of its community, on January 23 it held a Participation Awards to commemorate the work of their streamers and the community.
The stream focused on using Twitch chat as a direct medium between the hosts and viewers. But, as the event was running, some, including partnered streamers, criticized Twitch for ineffectively moderating the messages in chat.
Twitch partner and variety streamer negaoryx called out the platform for allowing the chat to be ‘full’ of hate speech and harassment towards the guests and hosts of the awards.
“I am unfathomably angry at the lack of protection and care Twitch shows its marginalized creators,” she said.
I am unfathomably angry at the lack of protection and care @Twitch shows its marginalized creators.
MODERATE YOUR CHANNELS. Enforce your own terms of service. I can't even watch & enjoy this stream because I'm spending my time reporting every hateful, harassing comment I see.
— negaoryx (@negaoryx) January 23, 2021
“Users in chat are spewing hate speech & harassing the guest streamers. 3 mod names in the chat list but since I’ve been watching, have seen ZERO messages get deleted.
“I can’t even watch & enjoy this stream because I’m spending my time reporting every hateful, harassing comment I see. How hard is it to have even ONE person moderate these official Twitch streams?”
MsAshRocks, who appeared as the final guest on the stream, also urged Twitch to clamp down on hate speech. She said: “I mentioned a slither of fundraising for [BLM] protesters and they went wild LMAO.”
I mentioned a slither of fundraising for protesters and they went wild LMAO
BLACK LIVES MATTER. I will always use my platform to scream the hell out of that.
MODERATE YOUR CHATS.
I had a blast otherwise and appreciate my community spreading love in there! 🥲🧡 https://t.co/4ZlvzkDNbV
— Ashley💋 (@MsAshRocks) January 23, 2021
Tanya “CypherofTyr” DePass, director of gaming diversity non-profit I Need Diverse Games, echoed the calls, as she said: “It’s why I never watch the actual main Twitch/Twitch Gaming channels but host on mine so we have a safe spot to watch.”
Another Twitch partner, Imperial, praised negaoryx for speaking out and labeled the situation a “systemic problem” within Twitch.
Years. Literal years. I’ve had to call local police after doxing threats, so many racist comments and usernames that I saw no action on. Months of steady harassment. Do better. https://t.co/s6LkS9gYPd
— Imperial (@Imperialgrrl) January 24, 2021
She said: “I’ve had to call local police after doxing threats, so many racist comments and usernames that I saw no action on. Months of steady harassment. Do better.”
Twitch has not yet responded publicly to the situation.
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This wasn’t the only debacle from the stream. It turns out that one of the awards was inadvertently handed out to a bot account, rather than a real person.
It’s been a turbulent few days for the platform, as users condemned their decision to ban a 15-year-old streamer with 90,000 followers because he had made his account when he was under 13. Meanwhile, other top streamers on the platform who also made their account when under 13 have gone unpunished.