Twitch unbanning streamer after shooting threat could set dangerous precedent - Dexerto
Opinion

Twitch unbanning streamer after shooting threat could set dangerous precedent

Published: 30/Mar/2022 11:46 Updated: 30/Mar/2022 14:44

by Zackerie Fairfax

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Twitch has reduced an indefinite ban for a streamer after she threatened to “shoot people” at the company’s HQ. This decision could lead to a concerning and potentially dangerous trend on the platform. 

‘Meta’ is a word used frequently in the gaming community to describe the optimal strategy to accomplish a goal. In games, specific weapons, armor, or characters are often referred to as the current meta. And this idea of a single effective tactic extends beyond playing games into the realm of streaming content.

Twitch, still the preeminent livestreaming platform, has a constantly shifting meta. It may be playing a specific game during its peak in popularity or donning a bathing suit and spending hours in a hot tub.

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Smaller streamers tend to conform to these trends more often than larger creators in an attempt to grow their audience. On a website where more viewers equal more money, some streamers are willing to risk it all on a meta regardless of the consequences.

narcissa wright banned from Twitch

Twitch streamers use bans used for clout

‘Metas’ spawn from popularity and publicity. If a streamer is getting increased viewership, other streamers will emulate their content to generate views too. In a similar vein, if a streamer appears in headlines for their actions, others may try to emulate that as well.

As backward as it may sound, some streamers undoubtedly use bans to generate hype for their streams. Streamers will say or do things while live with the intent to be banned and make headlines – many of which Dexerto and other sites will report on.

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This happens with streamers both big and small. DisguisedToast was recently banned for watching anime on stream and claimed after the fact that it was a publicity stunt. Getting banned for ridiculous reasons or a popular trend is, in some form, a meta for Twitch creators.

A number of content creators during 2020’s wave of DMCA takedowns would play copyrighted music while viewers waited to see if they’d be banned. This shows that Twitch streamers are apt to put their careers at risk if it nets them more exposure.

Narcissawright threatens to “shoot people” following Twitch ban

It’s important to talk about Twitch metas because of a recent ban and appeal case. Narcissawright, formerly known as speedrunner Cosmowright, was banned indefinitely in March for accidental nudity, breaking the attire guidelines.

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This is a very common violation and one that typically results in a short ban. However, it was her actions following the ban that caught attention. In a now-deleted tweet, Narcissa stated she wanted to kill herself and “shoot people at Twitch HQ” because of the suspension.

Seven days after her indefinite ban, Narcissa shared an email from Twitch that stated the indefinite ban would be converted to a 22-day suspension. Twitch stated, “Given the details of your case, including the remorse expressed in your appeal, we have decided to reduce your suspension duration.”

Despite claiming she doesn’t own a weapon and that her threat was “not credible”, many replies to her tweet were shocked by the ban appeal. They were seemingly confused why Twitch would allow someone who threatened their employees to return to their platform.

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narcissa tweet about shooting twitch hq
Narcissawright (Twitter)
The now-deleted tweet from Narcissawright where she said she wants to “shoot people” at Twitch HQ.

A dangerous Twitch trend?

Twitch banned Narcissa for accidental nudity, often one of the more unforgiving community guidelines violations. It’s also frustrating because a number of times an accidental nudity ban stems from a viewer tricking the streamer, who had no intention of showing such content.

But, if Narcissa was banned for accidental nudity and nothing else happened, it wouldn’t have made headlines. The publicity surrounding her ban derives from her threat against the safety of real people at the company.

Threatening violence could become a trend if Twitch doesn’t take it more seriously. Are streamers now free grab headlines for threatening to harm Twitch employees, knowing it won’t be taken into account when their ban appeal is reviewed? Or that a remorseful apology will suffice?

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twitch trend graphic

The dangers of the false threat trend

Getting a break from streaming while your name circulates the internet with little effort might sound like a dream for streamers. This instance with Narcissa proves all you need is a well-written apology to get your platform back.

This is not to doubt the sincerity of Narcissa’s apology. In a statement to Dexerto, she explained, “I don’t own any weapons and the threat was non-credible. I did feel like self-harming though, and the tweet was my way of self-harming.”

But Twitch’s actions during this ban and appeal could set a dangerous precedent. The decision has swept a very serious situation under the rug. If streamers can get more daring with their attempts to attract attention with their disguised plans to get banned, real threats could be buried by clout chasers.

Twitch should also take its staff and community into account. Most importantly, how will this affect Twitch’s staff? This is not the first time such a threat has been made. In 2019, police were called into the headquarters in San Francisco due to a shooting threat.

“The safety and security of our employees is our top priority,” Twitch said at the time, “and we are focused on ensuring this is resolved quickly and safely.” Employees had the option to work from home instead of coming into the office.

twitch employees stressed

The inconsistency of Twitch bans

An issue that persists in Twitch’s community is the ambiguous nature of the platform’s bans and appeals. Streamers are punished harshly for things other streamers can get away with. Some bans are never appealed while others are overturned with enough groveling.

Twitch does not comment publicly on bans to protect the privacy of users, but even in their emails to users themselves, it is rare for an exact reason to be given for a ban. The rule which was violated is given, but not how exactly it was violated.

Destiny, a veteran streamer on the platform, was permanently banned in March, and maintains that Twitch has not specified the cause, leaving it to guesswork.

Korean streamer Velvet_7 was banned for 18 entire months for sexual content. But Velvet_7 did not show accidental nudity, or make threats against Twitch staff. Rather, she accused Twitch of banning her simply because she has a “different body type than other girls” and because of her “bigger chest.”

These are examples of the lack of consistency from ban to ban. With every action involving a streamer’s ban, a precedent is set. While each ban is handled on a case-by-case basis, and context is vital, two identical violations should have identical punishments.

In this case, has a threat of violence been taken seriously enough? That’s not to say Narcissa should be permanently banned. But it’s important to remember that Twitch’s actions in these situations will have rippling effects – and getting a ‘pass’ on a threat of violence could have a very negative ripple.