During TwitchCon Amsterdam, streaming giant Twitch announced a number of new security features coming soon to the platform.
This includes the ability for streamers to customize who can raid them, as well as the ability to share a list of banned accounts with other streamers. Both of these features respond to the massive wave of hate raids that hit marginalized streamers last year.
The features were showcased at the opening ceremony by Twitch CEO Emmett Shear: “We’re never done with security on Twitch, it’s a never-ending goal.
When we say we want Twitch to be the best place to be a streamer, we mean that your safe chat experience should be an essential part of that goal. A major priority for us is raising the security baseline – that’s the level of protection you can expect from Twitch without having to do anything.”
So how do you customize raids? Streamers will be able to set an upper and lower threshold for the number of viewers in a potential incoming raid, as well as the age of the account.
They can further customize if raids can come from teammates, followed channels, subscribers, etc. Raid commands will be more easily accessible over-the-air. They can also be completely disabled.
Sharing banned accounts between streamers “helps the community protect themselves before harassment spreads,” Shear said.
It’s unclear how soon these new features will be implemented, but streamers from marginalized groups are positive about the changes.
“I think it’s a good security feature because right now your only option isn’t raids or the people you follow and there’s no middleman,” streamer CypherOfTyr told Eurogamer. “So I like it because it moves the vetting process forward. I don’t know if it’s going to stop the hate raids because when people are determined they are determined. But I think it will be a big help .”
“This is something that should have happened a long time ago,” says CoderGirlChan. “I’m glad it’s here though, I’m glad we can moderate the raids that are coming. As a member of the LGBT+ community and the black community, we are the hardest hit by this. So the fact that we can control who comes in and protect our community is huge.During Black History Month I had three hate raids in a stream and just finished because it was a loss.
LukeBoogie agrees, however, that the timing is late.
“What took so long? It’s still the same problem Twitch has with transparency, you never really know what they’re working on. You’re screaming into the void and you never know if Twitch is listening. We finally have something “but it took too long to get there,” they say.
CafeEla is also positive about the change, particularly the control it gives streamers.
“No one is forced to use it, but when targeted by hate raids, it seems to provide some peace of mind and prevent harassment and hate,” she says. “Also, I know people who have disabled raids in general for anxiety reasons, which is very understandable. So it just gives more customization, so you don’t have to enable or disable.”
However, more needs to be done to protect streamers on Twitch from harassment.
“It definitely doesn’t solve the problem that’s causing these raids,” CafeEla says.
“More needs to be done for creator safety and not even letting these things happen in the first place. There needs to be a clear stance towards harassment, and pro BIPOC and other marginalized creator demographics. We need to continue to uplift and support them . . , and be strong on these issues.
“It’s of course frustrating because these bot armies can be created by a few very loud people (or even just one person), but that’s why Twitch needs to stay diligent in trying to hold these individuals accountable. It’s important that people aren’t left alone just because there are now more prevention tools.”
For CypherOfTyr, the ability to block banned accounts from watching a stream is the next major feature that needs to be implemented.
“Banned chatters can still watch,” she says. “Since [Twitch] can monetize by letting certain people watch my stream if i say sub only there should be a way to keep it so that if you get banned in this chat you can’t see that content there should be a flag for that.”
CoderGirlChan would like to see Twitch do more to weed out newly created bot accounts.
“The most important thing is these new accounts. Sometimes I have someone who created an account five minutes ago comes into my chat and starts leaving,” she says. “I have some of the highest moderation settings on my account and yet they keep coming in and chatting and saying bad things. They should have a certain amount of time before they can even chat. You have to prove that you are a person at the end of the day.
Additionally, she would like to see more support from Twitch directly when marginalized streamers are promoted to the front page.
“If you know someone is going to be on the front page, especially for pride month or black history, we have to have some moderation in that from [Twitch’s] real team. Our moderation team, they have the tools but they can’t do much,” she said.
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