Streamer Sexual Misconduct Allegations – Does Twitch Need to Do More?

This past week has seen a series of serious allegations made at big Twitch streamers. The number of allegations has been somewhat staggering. This has led to resignations at a content management company and investigations of streamers. However, bigger questions have to be asked about the role of the Twitch code of conduct and if it needs to be enforced better.

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© Twitch

Twitch exists as a platform for streamers only, but it does have a code of conduct. These rules are supposed to govern how streamers behave. They can be removed from the platform for violating them. This is about all Twitch does to regulate streamer behavior. The problem comes, when Twitch doesn’t seem to care about enforcing its own rules as they have in the past. Their spotty history with enforcing the Twitch code of conduct throws some doubt on their efforts to curb this kind of behavior.

In response to the accusations, Twitch has promised to make the platform ‘safer’ in the future. While the allegations of sexual assault happened separately to Twitch, it is clear that the platform was used to facilitate it.

Twitch has a problem with Streamers’ behaviour

The recent few weeks have seen a lot of allegations. A post on Reddit has compiled them along with a fair amount of the evidence given. Individual cases vary from a clear problem to accusations. However, how widespread it is shows a problematic trend.

In the wake of all of these allegations, the CEO of the OP group stepped down. This was a content creation management company. Its clients included a number of streamers and YouTubers involved in the allegations. However, the CEO themselves were indicated.

Twitch has made its own statement on the problem.

This is a nice acknowledgment. However, it doesn’t really say very much. Making the platform a safer place could mean an awful lot of things. Twitch has a poor history of enforcing its own rules. Generally, Twitch has been worried about misuse of memes, random “non-PC” words being used and generally irrelevant stuff. While Twitch-thottery, sexual misconduct and downright egregious examples are let slide or unnoticed.

The platform does seem to have a problem with streamer behavior, but what can be done?

Is the Twitch Code of Conduct Strict Enough?

Twitch is working with law enforcement to investigate and chase up these allegations. This is a good start, However, they need to address the cause of this problem and enforce the Twitch code of conduct.

Clearly more needs to be done to regulate the behavior of streamers from the platform. The audience that Twitch gives these people is what facilitates this. Deplatforming should be taking place when abuses have been found. However, for that to happen a whole public outing needs to happen. The difficulties in coming forward prevent a lot of people from speaking out.

In a lot of situations, Twitch has played an instrumental role in allowing the abuser to conduct themselves in that way. However, Twitch should be playing a role in allowing people to come forward.  They need to be taking a more active role in enforcing their code of conduct and investigating allegations when they occur. Streamers should be investigated and removed from the platform by Twitch without the victim having to face a trial by fire in social media first. While Twitch isn’t to blame, it needs to take more responsibility for ensuring the Twitch code of conduct is actually followed. At the moment, it often feels like big streamers are above the code of conduct, and face no repercussions for their behavior at any time. The platform needs to make sure its rules are being followed and enforced for everyone not just the ones the outcry mob pillories.

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