Black Twitch streamers renew push for protections, cooperation with Twitch following rampant harassment
Black creators behind the viral #TwitchDoBetter campaign and racial justice organization Color of Change have published an open letter to Twitch CEO Emmett Shear demanding the live stream service work with Black creators to protect their community from unfettered harassment on the platform.
The letter deems the Amazon-owned company’s Black History Month initiatives “sorely inadequate” following Twitch’s inaction on the issue. The move follows last year’s #ADayOffTwitch protests against insufficient protections for marginalized creators against hate raids and other forms of harassment on the platform, which prompted an acknowledgment of issues that have only been partly addressed.
The letter acknowledges Twitch’s limited action, primarily phone-verification options for individual channel’s chats, but finds that the response was motivated by an inordinate amount of community backlash. Furthermore, the letter accuses the company of not implementing further tools or protections for creators. A statement on the website of the revamped campaign states: “Twitch has left Black creators in the dark about what, if any, additional steps will be taken to protect them, and sits idle as anti-Black hate runs rampant on the platform.”
Unmet demands to Twitch listed in the letter include:
Improved algorithmic and human content moderation practices, especially for Black creators who are featured on the Front Page.
Organizational roles and policies that aid and advocate for Twitch users suffering from racial harassment.
Commitment to conduct a racial equity audit that would allow Twitch to identify areas of growth and eliminate any manifestation of bias, discrimination, or hate across its products and as an employer.
Color of Change also published a video highlighting the experiences of Black streamers since a spike in harassment last year.
“We are demanding that you make your commitment to Black streamers transparent and tangible,” the letter concludes, “now. #TwitchDoBetter.”