In the world of online video game broadcasting, Twitch is the supreme ruler, with millions of people logging on every single day. With viewership of the Amazon-owned streaming platform increasing by 45% in the last year, the popularity of the site is only growing. However, there are some downsides to this popularity, most notably the plague of hatred that reached critical mass in the middle of last year. While measures have been put in to counter them, a recent announcement shows just how many bots were involved in these negative raids.
In an open letter on the Twitch website, Vice President of Global Trust and Safety, Angela Hession, addressed concerns over safety for the many that use the site, either as a viewer or content creator. As well as statistics about the number of people that go live per month, over seven million, Hession also discussed the "progress of hate raids," adding that the team had proactively removed more than 15 million bot accounts, with that number continuing to increase. In general, it shows just how rampant these bots have been, and the enormity of clearing them out.
Twitch's hate raid controversy became most notable last year, in which people and non-human users would flood someone's channel during a livestream with the intention of spreading toxic messages and abuse. It eventually reached a point in which general users and broadcasters initiated a 24-hour walkout from the platform, in protest at what many considered to be a lack of action on the part of the company. Since then, there have been some measurements put into place to combat such negative raids.
Controversial streaming tool Streamlabs introduced a safe mode to its software, as a response to the hate raids. Twitch itself also brought in its own countermeasures to fight online abuse. While it hasn't attacked the problem at the root, it does seem to have reduced the number of hate raids that broadcasters and their community have been experiencing. One of the measures introduced was to encourage people to verify their accounts, thus eliminating the chance of a bot using the site, plus allowing streamers to control chat participation when going live.
These hate raid countermeasures implemented by Twitch are a step in the right direction. With the open letter posted on the company website also discussing the updated "hateful Conduct, Harassment, and Sexual Harassment" policy a year ago, it seems as though the platform is hoping to ebb the tide of online hatred and abuse, but it remains to be seen whether it's enough, especially given how many bots have had to be deleted already.
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