Following a summer of increased levels of harassment directed towards marginalized streamers and solidifying organizing among creators on the platform, Twitch has taken its largest step in protecting streamers by introducing phone-verified chat.
The new, optional feature gives additional chat filters that can require “some or all users” to verify their accounts phone number before they can use a channelschat. Viewers will only need to verify their phone or email once, and a single phone number can verify up to five accounts, but a site-wide suspension or per channel ban will result in all accounts sharing that number to be banned (a move aimed at curbing the use of bots in hate raids).
If a viewer attempts to watch a channel that requires phone verification for the first time without having previously set it up, a pop-up will direct the viewer to verify their account. VoIP (or landline, for that matter) won’t be compatible with the feature.
Filter options for the requirement include:
- All accounts
- First-time chatters
- Chatters with accounts aged less than [pre-filled options of 1 hour, 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months]
- Chatters following for less than [pre-filled options for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 6 hours, 1 day, 3 days, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months]
Unverified users will still be able to watch streams, just not chat.
The suite of tools also extends to email-verification, which can be turned on in addition to or alternatively to phone-verification. Twitch promises the use of the feature “shouldn’t impact your discoverability” since it does not prevent views.
How Streamers Are Reacting
Partner streamer Veronica ‘Nikatine’ Ripley, whose channel has over 26 thousand followers, told WGTC over Twitter that she enabled the phone-verification immediately . “I’ve gotten a lot of hate over the years,” she said, “and I’m really excited to curb that behavior and ensure my chat can focus on what really matters.”
Nikatine, who is also a Twitch Ambassador, has high hopes for the tool:
“One of the greatest elements that inspires freedom of expression on twitch, anonymity, is also responsible for inspiring much of the hate.” With phone and email verification, “Twitch has given us a major tool to help curb harassment, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
In Twitch’s announcement introducing phone-verification, the Amazon-owned company stated: “We’ve spent many months building, testing and refining this tool, and while this is far from the last update on our roadmap to improve Creator safety, we’re optimistic about the impact it can have in making a safer Twitch.” The platform concluded the announcement with a commitment to improving safety measures for streamers and promised more features in the coming months, including a “channel-level ban evasion tool.”
Among the features Nikatine would like to see implemented are shared ban lists. As she explains, streamers could subscribe to a streamers personal ban list to avoid facing the same trouble.
“Marginalized streamers are already sharing the names of trolls to ban on Twitch through services like Discord. Implementing a feature that lets us do that through Twitch would save us a lot of steps!”
Until then, Nikatine says they’re overjoyed with the news: “I’m just thrilled it’s finally being implemented. It feels like a dream.”
How do you feel about this new tool on Twitch? Tell us in the comments!