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Twitch outlines off-hours misconduct and harassment policy

Twitch will now be looking out for additional serious offenses that take place when a streamer is not behind the mic.

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As time has gone on, Twitch has found itself in a growing conundrum regarding users engaging in various forms of misconduct outside of their Twitch streams. As streamers become increasingly recognizable outside of their work setting, Twitch has had more of a vested interest in making sure everyone behaves to a reasonable degree. At the very least, they're hoping streamers don't engage in harassment or take part in hate groups. If that wasn't clear before, it's clear now following an April 7 update to the Twitch Hateful Conduct and Harassment policy.

Twitch's policy updates were outlined on the Twitch blog. It mainly goes into conduct outside of Twitch streams, making certain hatred and harrassment that is outlawed on Twitch isn't engaged in outside of the streaming service.

"When [harassment outside of Twitch] happens, we will take into account verifiable, off-service behaviors or statements that relate to an incident that took place on Twitch," reads the blog post. "For example: if we're reviewing a harassment report about an incident that happened live on stream, related or continued harassment on Twitter could be taken into account when reported to us. This is how our current off-service policy works in the vast majority of cases, and will not change."

Twitch will also be on the lookout for serious offenses that do not take place on Twitch, but could still pose a serious risk to the community. That includes taking part in violent extremism, terrorist activity, threats of mass violence, hate group membership, taking part in sexual assault, child exploitation, and threats against Twitch staff members. For any of these cases or other cases that fall under this umbrella Twitch will investigate internally and also bring aboard third-party investigators to assist.

For Twitch, this update is largely about filling holes in its old policy. While the company would investigate certain off-Twitch incidents, the previous policy did not address hate group affiliation or calls to violence. This glaring omission was front and center following Ryan 'Gootecks' Gutierrez's call for violence following the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. Twitch initially responded by disavowing Gutierrez's remarks and replacing the Pogchamp emote that used his face.

The aforementioned Twitch blog link has more information on today's announcement, along with several FAQs that may stem from the updated policy.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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