The first attempt to legislatively stop the US Army using streaming platform Twitch, which they financially support through sponsorship programs, to advertise to and actively recruit has failed after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)'s amendment to the House Committee on Appropriations bill was blocked in the House of Representatives.
The amendment which would prevent the military from using funds appropriated by the bill to "maintain a presence on Twitch.com or any video game, e-sports, or live-streaming platform" failed to pass with 67 voting for the amendment, 158 against, with 206 abstaining.
Ocasio-Cortez laid out clearly why Twitch is an unsuitable platform for the US Army and Navy to operate expressing how the streaming platform is primarily used by children as young as 12.
"Children should not be targeted in general for many marketing purposes in addition to military service," she said. “Right now, currently, children on platforms such as Twitch are bombarded with banner ads linked to recruitment signup forms that can be submitted by children as young as 12 years old. These are not education outreach programs for the military.”
Ocasio-Cortez also referenced the phoney giveaways, that promised Xbox Elite Series 2 controllers and were subsequently brought to a halt by the behest of Twitch, the Representative for the 14th District of New York dubbed these "recruitment forms for the military".
The chances of the amendment being passed were slim even if it was agreed the amendment was passed in the house. The House Appropriations bill which sets the Pentagon and effectively the Army's budget would have had to of been green-lit by the House of Appropriations Committee on Rules and then passed by the Senate which is currently held by a Republican majority.
Ocasio-Cortez tweeted after the amendment failed to pass with her expressing frustration at trying to explain to Congress the way the internet, and ultimately the world works.
Imagine trying to explain to your colleagues who are members of Congress what Twitch is 😭— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 30, 2020
Ocasio-Cortez is not disheartened by the failure though, with the Representative buoyed by the fact that the majority of her Democratic colleagues supported the amendement.
The good news: a majority of the Dem party supported this amendment.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 30, 2020
That’s a really solid start for this being the first time this issue has been brought before Congress.
We’ve made great strides since *that* Senate FB hearing, but we’ve got a lot of room to still improve!
What happens next is unclear, the US Army has been inactive on the platform for the last two weeks after it emerged that they had been banning viewers for mentioning US war crimes. The US Navy has continued to stream and it is expected that the Army will soon be streaming again.
A spokesman for the Army told Gamespot: "The team has paused streaming to review internal policies and procedures, as well as all platform-specific policies, to ensure those participating in the space are clear before streaming resumes."
Whether Twitch themselves will dissociate themselves from the US military is not yet clear, the US Army has been seen to directly sponsor the popular Twitch Rivals tournaments and after the recent furore around the NEOM sponsorship of the League of Legends European Championship, it looks like an increasingly untenable position.
(Picture: Twitch Rivals)
The US Army isn't the only military involved with Twitch, the Guardian recently reported that the British army awarded a contact to Ayozat to recruit through platforms including Twitch. The deal would see Ayozat run four events over the next year and would see "key influencers from the urban music scene" promote "army confidence".
- Read more: The recent NEOM sponsorships are a travesty - there can be no place for human rights abuse in esports