Twitch rolls out new features to curb harassment

Twitch rolls out new features to curb harassment

Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch has revealed a number of new features designed to stop harassment and other misconduct on its service.

In a blog post, the company revealed that streamers can now require that viewers verify by phone or email so that personalities have more control over who is tuning in and taking part in their chat.

These are turned off by default, but can be enabled for accounts watching a particular streamer for the first time, as well as for viewers whose accounts were created recently or for those that have only followed a streamer for below a certain timeframe.

These features are available from the Creator Dashboard. Viewers can add up to five mobile phone numbers to their account, though they cannot use voice over IP numbers. If an account is suspended, then any phone number associated with it is barred from setting up another Twitch account. The same is true for email addresses.

"Building this tool was a major undertaking that spanned several months—and we know it’s felt like a long time to get to you. When we launch a new tool or feature, it’s essential that it works across devices and regions at scale from day one, which requires thoughtful and thorough planning, testing, and deployment," Twitch said.

"Our work to make Twitch safer will never be over, just as there’ll never be a single fix for harassment and hate online. But as long as toxic behavior can find ways into our communities, we must – and will – keep working on ways to make it harder to do so. From technology and tooling to policy and education, we’re committed to finding more and better ways to decrease harm, empower Creators, and share vital information on how users can stay safe. We’ll be launching a new channel-level ban evasion tool in the coming months, and look forward to sharing more."

This comes in the wake of the #ADayOffTwitch protest which saw streamers and viewers take a break from the platform for 24 hours to raise awareness of Twitch's lack of action when it came to harassment and hate raids on its service. Data from analytics firm SullyGnome showed that this resulted in a 21 per cent drop in peak viewership week-on-week.

Twitch also recently filed a lawsuit against two users related to hate raids.

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Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.