Twitch targets misinformation, bans high-profile QAnon streamers

Twitch has updated community rules to reflect the new policy aimed at curbing “malicious disinformation actors.”

Twitch’s statement on this matter makes clear that the company will be taking the issue relatively lightly, stating that “this update likely won’t affect you or the streamers you live on Twitch.” He continues, “Our goal is to prevent individuals whose online presence is dedicated to spreading malicious misinformation from using Twitch.”

QAnon influencers Tore, and Zack Payne (hosts of the QAnon show RedPill78) have been banned from Twitch under the platform’s new disinformation policy, which includes QAnon. 

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The company’s anti-disinformation measures target accounts that “persistently share” information that is not only “widely debunked and widely shared” but is also violent or harmful. Twitch clarified that its new moderation would only target accounts that meet all three of these criteria: focus on or persistence in disinformation, the widespread nature of the hoax, and its potentially harmful effects. Ugh! It looks like my Flat Earth Gaming channel is safe for now.

In its Community Guidelines, Twitch has provided several examples of misleading information that it will target in the future:

  • Disinformation targeting protected groups is already prohibited by our Hateful Behavior and Harassment Policy.
  • Harmful health misinformation and widespread conspiracy theories related to dangerous treatments, COVID-19, and COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
    • Discussions of treatments known to be harmful without mentioning the dangers of such treatments.
    • For COVID-19 — and any other WHO-declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) — disinformation that causes imminent physical harm or is part of a broader conspiracy.
  • Disinformation spread by violent conspiracy networks and/or promoting violence.
  • Civic disinformation that undermines the integrity of the civil or political process
    • We are promoting verifiable false claims related to the results of a fully verified political process, including election fraud, ballot fraud, vote counting, or election fraud.
  • In cases of emergencies (for example, wildfires, earthquakes, active shootings), we may also act on misinformation that may affect public safety.

All of these points are about popular conspiracy theories that have proven controversial on other social platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, so it’s encouraging to see Twitch laying out a clear policy on this issue before such an issue can develop to such an extent on the platform. This rule change has already resulted in two high-profile QAnon influencers being banned from Twitch.

This is the latest of several steps taken by Twitch to strengthen its rules and enforcement, including updating its username policy and implementing an automatic ban avoidance detector. These changes come after the platform’s longstanding harassment, and security concerns escalated late last year.

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