Streaming service Twitch updated its hateful behavior and harassment policy on Wednesday, threatening to suspend account users guilty of “serious offenses” committed offline.
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These new measures significantly broaden the scope of possible sanctions for the platform, which is part of Amazon’s digital empire.
“Consequently, we will sanction the accounts concerned, by applying measures which can go as far as an indefinite suspension from the first violation in the context of certain behavior offline or on other Internet services”, adds the platform.
The list of behaviors targeted by the new Twitch policy includes deadly or violent actions, death threats, terrorist activity, participation in a “notorious hate group” and the sexual exploitation of children.
By deciding to sanction offenses that did not occur directly on its platform, Twitch is taking a step forward in the fight against violent and hateful behavior.
On Facebook or Twitter, account suspensions generally result from content deemed dangerous or misleading and having been shared on the site itself, but not from real life facts, which means that these social networks are also vilified by civil rights organizations.
Twitch recognizes that extending the realm of sanctions to offline behavior requires compelling evidence before taking action.
“In most cases, this involves a direct link to a public message or content directly uploaded by the offending user,” explains the Amazon platform, which specifies that screenshots or messages likely to have been modified are generally not admissible.
“We will also consider using the police to assess the merits of the charges and evidence,” Twitch also assures.
Users also have the option of contacting an external investigative team by email to report, in confidence, abusive behavior outside of Twitch’s services.
In order to avoid abuses, the platform is also considering safeguards.
It ensures for example that if the incriminated facts occurred a long time ago, if their person in charge has already served his sentence and if he does not present a “clear and immediate” danger, sanctions are not necessarily to be considered. If the account has already been deactivated, an appeal is possible.
On the other hand, for the most serious cases, Twitch indicates that “the suspension can never be the subject of an appeal”.
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