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Twitch Updates Safety Measures To Combat "Targeted Hate"

Twitch revealed that it's drastically reduced "targeted hate" on the platform, thanks to its newly updated and implemented safety measures.
Twitch Updates Safety Measures To Combat "Targeted Hate"

On 28th November 2022, Twitch announced that it's updated its safety measures to combat "targeted hate." According to the Amazon-owned platform's statistics, it's "proactively blocked over 75 million potentially harmful chat messages, and are currently stopping 20,000 cases of automated, potentially harmful chat every day." This update comes after multiple "Black and LGBTQIA+ streamers on Twitch faced a wave of malicious bot attacks, commonly referred to as hate raids" in 2021.

Since then, the company has been doubling down on its safety measures to prevent "targeted hate" and also protect individuals from harassment and vicious, demoralizing messages. Twitch states that it has severely improved its environment and dwindled the "targeted hate" cases to a point where it's rarely happening. Later this Wednesday, Twitch will also be launching a new tool for streamers called Shield Mode, wherein it will help streamers control and monitor their streams more safely and powerfully.

Twitch Updates Its Safety Measures To Stop "Targeted Hate"

twitch statement safety measures
On 28th November, 2022, Twitch released a statement about its updated safety measures. (Picture: Twitch)

Twitch has stated that it's been "fighting against bots." Throughout the past year, the platform has released a "steady stream of new and updated machine learning models to identify and block harmful accounts, language, and behavior before they're even seen." Per the Amazon-owned company, these models include new sets of technologies for detecting and preventing bots from signing up, logging in, and other flows.

According to Twitch, it's "proactively blocked over 75 million harmful chat messages" and stopped "20,000 cases of automated, potentially harmful chat every day." In addition, since its latest new model rolled out in June 2022, Twitch has "prevented more than 500,000 accounts from sending automated, likely harmful chat messages."

Subsequently, the platform is "fortifying technology that detects harmful texts of all kinds on Twitch." It recently completed the acquisition of Spirit AI, a leading natural language processing company that will aid Twitch in refining "AutoMod and other proactive detection for catching harmful text or phrases" on the platform.

Adding to these implementations, Twitch has launched three new "channel-level tools," which should help streamers control and monitor their chat more easily and safely. To educate content creators, Twitch has also "invested more educational resources" into improving safety and support for streamers that need it most. Twitch "launched support programs for streamers participating in marketing campaigns that will amplify their spotlight, so that you can better boost your visibility and channel growth while also boosting your safety."

According to Twitch, these updates and implementations have tremendously improved the platform. "User reports mentioning 'hate raids' are down 97%" since September 2021. "Enforcements for violent hate speech dropped by 85%," following the measures placed throughout August and September 2021. Not only that, though, but "enforcement for repeat chat harassment also dropped significantly and now remains 56% lower than their baselines" in 2021.

twitch tremendously improved safety measures
Twitch has tremendously improved its safety measures. (Picture: Unsplash)

Ultimately, Twitch aims to create a much safer environment for Black and LGBTQIA+ streamers on the platform. These changes and features serve to protect individuals from "targeted hate" and many other forms of harassment.

One of Twitch's goals "is to find better ways to maximize [streamers'] safety without complicating the way [they] engage with [their] community or the way [their] channel grows," so the Amazon-owned platform is introducing a new tool called Shield Mode. This tool should boost streamers' safety while "minimalizing any impact on [their channel's growth or engagement." More details about Shield Mode will be revealed on 30th November 2022 when it launches.

twitch launching feature streamers shield mode
Twitch is launching a new feature for streamers called Shield Mode on 30th November 2022. (Picture: Unsplash)

Although this update on the platform's safety measures is great, it still leaves much to be desired from Twitch's performance and haste on extremely important issues.

Twitch Needs To Address Its Biggest Issue: Child Predation

In an update supposedly meant to protect streamers from harassment, Twitch has still yet to address one of its biggest safety issues on the platform: child predation

Despite multiple reports being published by numerous publications, including Cecilia D'Anastasio's brilliant investigative research at Bloomberg, about Twitch's lax security measures and safety protocols to protect innocent children from being harassed by child predators, there hasn't been any official word yet. 

From October 2020 to August 2022, nearly 300,000 children were reportedly targeted by child predators on Twitch. That's not all, though; from "2019 to 2021, child sexual abuse online skyrocketed by 73%. But on Twitch, it meteorically rose by 1,125%." In addition, with Twitch reportedly removing tools to track down these statistics, it also leaves the research initially conducted to make these issues apparent, no longer possible. 

So, it's obviously fantastic that Twitch is improving its safety measures for individuals. That accomplishment shouldn't be discredited because it's great that there's been a significant improvement in shielding creators from "targeted hate" on the platform. That said, there's still so much Twitch needs to establish before it becomes truly a platform that's safe for all. Only time can tell when that might happen.

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Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.