10,000 signatures reached
To: Emmett Shear, Chief Executive Officer, Twitch
Twitch Must Protect Black Creators from ‘Hate Raids’ and Online Harassment! #TwitchDoBetter
We Demand That Twitch:
(1) Conduct a racial equity audit to evaluate its policies and products for discrimination, and determine mechanisms to prevent future harm to Black communities. These mechanisms would include, but not be limited to:
A feature that allows Twitch users to log all types of harassment, regardless of whether the incident took place during the livestream event.
A feature that allows Twitch streamers to more easily add timestamps and issue tags to chat messages so that any complaints filed with Twitch contain appropriate data metrics on harassment and abuse on the platform.
A software program that detects and bans universal slurs and pejoratives, even those written in non-Latin characters or symbols
(2) Permanently ban any users believed to have violated Twitch’s Terms of Service or Community Guidelines. This would require:
Introducing additional authentication processes when creating accounts.
Logging IP addresses to ensure that banned users cannot create duplicate accounts or log into another user’s account in the future.
(3) Expand user permissions to provide Twitch users with greater authority over their accounts. This would include:
Granting Twitch streamers permission to set age account requirements for those allowed to:
-Follow or send messages to the streamer.
-Follow or send messages to the livestream’s moderator.
-Watch the streamer’s livestream channel.
-Chat on the streamer’s livestream channel
Granting Twitch channel owners and moderators permission to approve or decline raids.
(4) Make a public commitment to adopt the aforementioned changes by September 18, 2021.
Why is this important?
On August 13, Kayla Bolden (also known as @KandidlyKayla) partnered with Twitch to host a “Stand Up To Cancer” charity livestream event and raise funds for cancer research initiatives. During the event, more than 400 follow bots raided the livestream and berated Kayla Bolden with racist slurs, loaded pejoratives, and other hateful comments. This occurred twice within two hours, and Twitch did nothing to stop it. The channel moderator, Lu Murrow, had to remove all 400 follow bots one by one so that the event could proceed. And when Kayla Bolden reached out to Twitch to discuss the “hate raids” and the repeated online harassment faced by Black creators, executives were hesitant to meet with her.
That same week, #TwitchDoBetter (created by fellow Twitch creator @RekItRaven) went viral on social media. Tens of Black creators recounted similar experiences with hate raids—some dating back to 2018—and pointed to Twitch’s continued failure to protect them from anti-Black racism, harassment, and abuse on the platform. Only after these stories went viral and were picked up by multiple media outlets did Twitch publicly acknowledge the hate raids and abuse that Black creators experience. While Twitch announced that it would update its anti-spam filters to better detect hate speech on live channels, Black creators explained that racist users often bypass those filters by using non-Latin characters (e.g., Cyrillic). While Twitch unveiled user protections, such as channel-level ban evasion detection and account verification improvements, these changes will not be implemented until later this year.
This is not enough. Black creators have endured harassment for over five consecutive years, and hate raids have increased substantially within the past two weeks alone. Black creators are being attacked, Black channel moderators are being forced to interact with and remove racist users, and Black children and teens are reading racist comments that belittle their identities.
As a multibillion-dollar streaming platform that generates its revenue from content produced by Black creators, Twitch has a responsibility to develop programs and policies with intentionality and thoughtful consideration given to the experiences of Black people. Black creators are the driving force behind the platform, and should feel safe while engaging with other users.
Sign the petition to demand that Twitch take meaningful steps to address anti-Black racism and hate on its platform. #TwitchDoBetter