According to the Washington Post, the Twitch streamers will be off the air this September 1st in order to carry out a protest.
The #DayOffTwitch action aims to draw attention to a recent outburst of harassment in the form of “hate attacks” directed at marginalized creators.
The entire day of downtime was led by Twitch streamers including RekitRaven, ShineyPen and Lucia Everblack. These creators, who created the hashtag #TwitchDoBetter, protested Twitch’s slow reaction to sexist, racist, transphobic and other forms of harassment messages. Abuse was often generated by bots and had the effect of overwhelming chats to the point that creators had to cut streams.
Streamers were particularly upset with Twitch expanding its list to include about 350 tags sorted by “gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, ability, mental health and more.” While it may have helped creators better connect with fans, it made it easier for abusive users to harass creators. This used to come in the form of “raids” that flooded a channel with racist slurs and abusive language.
“I’m tired of this,” RekItRaven (who declined to give his full name) told the Washington Post. “I’m tired of feeling that I can’t exist based on circumstances that are beyond my control, and I know other people are too.”
Streamers are left to their own devices, with only community-developed resources to combat the issues. This includes things like a “panic button” that takes chatting into a restricted mode and limits the ability of new users with abusive names to join.
Twitch promised to act. “We support the rights of our streamers to express themselves and draw attention to important issues in our service. No one should suffer malicious and heinous attacks based on who they are or what they represent, and we are working hard to improve the channel’s level of evasion detection and banning and additional account enhancements to help make Twitch a safer place for creators “, the company told The Verge.
Creators are also protesting Twitch’s revenue-sharing scheme, which allows them to take half of the platform’s revenue – but not for all creators. “We’re all very aware that many are getting 70/30 cuts, but there are no criteria, no talk, no targets, nothing,” streamer Vanessa (PleasantlyTwstd) told the Washington Post.