Video livestreaming service Twitch has become the latest technology company to adopt policies that could result in sanctions or banishment for users’ behavior it deems hateful or harassment that have no connection to the platform.
Unveiling the policy in a blog post on Wednesday titled “Our Plan for Addressing Severe Off-Service Misconduct,” Twitch said the action is intended to “address severe misconduct that impacts the Twitch community, but happens off Twitch.”
“Our current guidelines state that in some serious cases where there is available, verifiable evidence, we may take action against users for hateful conduct or harassment that occurs off Twitch services — meaning on social media, other online services, or even offline — when directed at members of the Twitch community,” the company said.
It added that the company, popular among the video gaming community, has hired a third-party investigative firm to look into users who violate the company’s terms.
“In order to be as thorough and efficient as possible in these situations, we’re bringing on a highly-regarded third party investigative partner to support our internal team with these investigations,” Twitch said.
The company said it would only undertake action against credible threats that fall in the scope of “deadly violence and violent extremism, terrorist activities or recruiting, explicit and/or credible threats of mass violence, leadership or membership in a known hate group, sexual exploitation of children,” and a few others.
The policy follows other companies that have employed such measures. The social media platform Snapchat was one of the first to limit then-President Donald Trump for statements he made but not on its forum.
The new policy has been characterized by some media outlets as a possible shield from criticism that it is harboring or aiding and abetting harmful behavior, but also is likely to bring accusations of violations of free speech.
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