The Black Twitch streamers and supporters behind the #TwitchDoBetter movement are calling on the leading streaming site to take more action when tackling racism on its platform.
In an open letter to Twtich CEO Emmett Shear and his senior leadership team, the group observes that Twitch only responded to this ongoing issue after last year’s #TwitchDoBetter petition gathered close to 20,000 signatures, the #ADayOffTwitch boycott gained widespread media coverage and meetings between Color of Change and Twitch leadership.
The group adds that, even though this led to an update of Twitch’s safety protocols, many of the movements demands remain unmet.
Twitch’s recent Black History Month activity — including a temporary Black Brilliance Recommended Section on the front page — was also criticised.
“At a time when Black streamers continue to be harassed by racist users and left unprotected from online hate, these short-term, performative Black History Month initiatives are sorely inadequate,” the group wrote.
“Twitch must address its complicity in anti-Black racism on the platform. And that starts with working directly with impacted Black creators to determine which policy and procedural changes are needed to improve their safety, as well as being transparent about when these changes will be implemented.”
The letter follows a Twitch statement acknowledging the continuing impact of hate raids in the channels of Black streamers, and offering advice to creators on how to counter them.
The company also filed a lawsuit back in September against two individuals who were allegedly behind hate raids.
The #TwitchDoBetter group has its own suggestions for how the situation can be addressed, reiterating the unmet demands from last year’s protest.
The letter calls for:
- Better incident feedback looks between Twitch and creators around harassment complaints, with better documentation of steps taken
- Improved moderation, both human and algorithmic, with a particular focus on Black streamers featured on the front page
- Organisation roles and policies within Twitch that support users suffering harassment
- A racial equity audit to identify areas for further growth and improvement
“While Twitch claims to be ‘listening to creators and building solutions to help stop unwanted harassment,’ it still has not offered a timeline for when these demands will be met, if at all,” the letter concluded. “Twitch has shown repeatedly that it is not willing to be transparent and cares more deeply about its public image than the safety of Black streamers. And, Black History Month 2022 is no different.
“The celebration of Black brilliance and Black joy should not be limited to February. Twitch should explore ways to boost the discoverability of Black streamers every day, provide support to Black creators featured on the Front Page every time, and ensure that Black creators feel safe doing what we love: streaming with the community we’ve poured into over the last few years. We are demanding that you make your commitment to Black streamers transparent and tangible, now. #TwitchDoBetter”
GamesIndustry.biz has reached out to Twitch for comment.