Twitch updates its community guidelines to ban ‘misinformation superspreaders’

Twitch has updated its Spam, Fraud and Malicious Conduct Policy to ban what the company calls “harmful subjects of disinformation.” The company defines these as “super-spreaders of disinformation” who meet very specific criteria to combat false and debunked claims about COVID-19., electoral fraud, and disinformation, which, among other things, contributes to violence.

Channels that receive an ax must meet the three characteristics described by Twitch below:

Together, we identified three characteristics that all of these participants have in common: Their online presence – on or off Twitch – is dedicated to (1) constantly sharing (2) widely debunked and widely shared (3) harmful disinformation topics such as conspiracies that promote violence . We chose these criteria because, taken together, they create the highest risk of harm, including incitement to harm in the real world. We will only take action on subjects that meet all three of these criteria, and our off-duty investigative team will conduct thorough reviews of each case.

Given this language, it is questionable how effective this policy will be in terms of removing anything other than clearly labeled propaganda channels, such as channels controlled by Russian state media. (Twitch views this policy change as a preventive policy change and will blog post about the new policy makes no mention of any closed channels, instead assuring readers that “this update likely won’t affect you or the streamers you love on Twitch”).

Unfortunately, the real problem with disinformation is that it often comes from sources aren’t directly titled “Propaganda News Now”; it comes from influencers with wide fan bases talking about other things – a class of Twitch users explicitly protected by the policy states that “it will not apply to users based on individual statements or discussions that occur on the channel

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