People will be banned for harassment even if it happens off the site: Twitch

It’s a major expansion of the platform’s misconduct policy

Twitch will now ban users who harass members of its community, even if that harassment takes place out of its site. The streaming platform announced a major update in its off-service misconduct policy that allows it to take action against users who mistreat people regardless of whether it happens offline or on another social platform.

According to the new policy, misconduct is divided into two categories: category one applies to harassment that takes place on and off Twitch, and category two applies only to harassment off Twitch. The first category remains unchanged. Harassment on Facebook will be taken into consideration if Twitch is reviewing a harassment report about something that happened on-stream.

However, the second category is new. Action will be taken by Twitch if it  finds out about “serious offences that pose a substantial safety risk to the Twitch community.” Actions will be taken even when those offences took place entirely off the platform. The company includes violent extremism, credible threats of mass violence, membership in a known hate group, sexual exploitation of children, and nonconsensual sexual activities as “serious offences” in its new category.

 A third-party law firm will assist with off-platform investigations. The company wrote in a blog post that these investigations are complex and will take time and resources to revolve. A company spokesman declined to reveal the name of the firm.

This approach comes after Twitch repaired its harassment policy last December. The changes included rigid rules regarding sexual harassment and a ban on promoting hateful opinions under the pretence of comedy.

In June 2020, the company faced problems around sexual harassment and assault as multiple women came forward to say it hadn’t done enough to protect them. 

The company in its announcement today said that it is focusing on “the most egregious types of physical and psychological harm” at the beginning but indicated it could expand the off-service harassment policy eventually.”

The company also said users who submit a large number of fake reports will be suspended.