On Wednesday, Twitch announced an extension of its policy of hateful behavior and harassment that takes into account off-platform behavior. A blog post from the company shared that it brings in a “third-party investigation partner” to support Twitch’s internal investigation team, and to help enforce off-platform breaches.
Per Twitch’s post, the new partner is an “experienced investigative law firm” that will help the company “more thoroughly investigate and respond to offenses outside the service.” In addition to adding sheer numbers to the team that investigates incident reports, the post also shared that it will be a dedicated email address for people to report “serious misconduct outside the service.”
While disciplining users for off-platform behavior is not new to Twitch – inappropriate off-platform behavior has led to bans since 2018 – this addition will increase existing policies that the company began enforcing in January 2020. Prior to the announcement, it was unclear how the company would deal with breaches off the platform.
The post elaborated on two categories of non-service enforcement:
Category one: Some are harassed on Twitch, plus by Twitch. When this happens, we will take into account verifiable behavior outside the statement or statements related to an incident that occurred on Twitch. For example: if we review a harassment report of an incident that occurred directly, related or continued harassment on Twitter may be taken into account when we are reported to us. This is how our current off-service policy works in the vast majority of cases, and will not change.
Category two: We will now enforce serious offenses that pose a significant security risk to the Twitch community, although these actions take place completely outside of Twitch.
The recently expanded enforcement will focus on some of the most “serious types of physical and psychological harm”, including but limited to: lethal violence and violent extremism, conduct or action as an accomplice to non-consensual and / or sexual assault sexual activities and sexual exploitation of children.
Twitch has long struggled with toxicity associated with the platform, even as she tries to highlight color creators on the platform positively. Personalities and members of society who engage in homophobic comments, racist accusations and feelings, and sexist comments are all areas that Twitch has tried to address over the years, with varying results.