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Twitch reportedly attracting child predators seeking kids' livestreams

Twitch has issued a response to Wednesday's report.

Twitch
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This hasn't been a good day for Twitch. A new report has suggested that nearly 2,000 users have been systemically following underage users across the platform. A significant number of those users have exhibited strange patterns that suggest they may be cataloging children's livestreams.

"Bloomberg verified that the 1,976 accounts had numerous children in their following lists," reads the Bloomberg report. "Bloomberg also reviewed live video recordings and other documentation and analysis by the researcher. In the course of reporting, Bloomberg discovered additional live videos and predatory accounts not cataloged by the researcher, suggesting the problem could be even more widespread than the data portrays."

Of the nearly 2,000 accounts cited, Bloomberg observed various grooming tactics and other unsettling actions at work. The report acknowledges that Twitch has increased the size of its law enforcement response team and has worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in an effort to curb these activities. However, given the size and scope of Twitch's user base, successfully monitoring everything is nearly impossible.

Twitch's Just Chatting category
Just Chatting is one of Twitch's most popular categories.
Source: Twitch

Twitch issued its response in the same Bloomberg report, noting:

"Preventing child harm is one of our most fundamental responsibilities as a society. We do not allow children under 13 to use Twitch, and preventing our service from being used for harm is one of our biggest priorities. We know that online platforms can be used to cause harm to children, and we have made extensive investments over the last two years to better stay ahead of bad actors and prevent any users who may be under 13 from accessing Twitch."

Despite Twitch's statement, Bloomberg's report notes that there may be even more child predator cases that have flown completely under the radar. Part of that is because there's little that can be done to actually stop kids from livestreaming, whether it be on Twitch, YouTube, or TikTok. The report also notes that the issue has worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw livestreaming numbers hit record levels.

This problem is likely not going away for Twitch, so we'll be sure to monitor this story for any updates.

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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