In a major expansion of its misconduct policy, Twitch will now ban users for harassing members of its community, even if it takes place off the website. The Amazon-owned streaming platform announced that the updated policy allows it to take counter-measures against users who harass or mistreat members of the Twitch community, either online or offline.
The policy is divided into two sections. One section deals with harassment that takes place on and off Twitch, and the other section deals with harassment that specifically takes place off Twitch. The first section has remained unchanged. Twitch already takes into account any Twitch-related harassment that takes place on Facebook when it reviews harassment complaints that happen on Twitch.
However, the second section is part of the policy expansion. Now, if Twitch gets to know about any “serious offences that pose a substantial safety risk to the Twitch community,” the streaming platform will take action, even if it happens outside of the internet. The platform defines “serious offences” as incidents of violent extremism, credible threats of mass violence, membership in a known hate group, sexual exploitation of children, and nonconsensual sexual activities, credible threats against Twitch staff, among others.
In order to investigate these “serious offences” Twitch is bringing on a third-party law firm. “These investigations are vastly more complex and can take significant time and resources to resolve,” wrote Twitch in an official blog post.
“For behaviors that take place off Twitch, we must rely more heavily on law enforcement and other services to share relevant evidence before we can move forward.”, the streaming platform added.
Twitch had just recently overhauled its harassment policy in December last year, including stricter rules regarding sexual harassment and promotion of “hateful opinions” under the pretense of comedy. Twitch announced that it will focus on “the most egregious types of physical and psychological harm” to begin with. However there is always the possibility that Twitch’s off-site harassment policy could be expanded in the future.
Even though the policy change of banning for off-platform acts has been announced now, Twitch had already implemented this policy, when it had banned President Donald Trump after the Capitol Hills violence.