Twitch Adds Phone Verification To Tackle Hate Raids And Bots

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Twitch has given streamers the option of asking users to verify their identity as part of efforts to crack down on hate raids and bots.

The new function became available on 29 September and allows streamers to require users to verify their phone numbers before they can chat. The feature can be enabled for all users, first-time chatters, those with accounts aged less than a time specified by the streamer, or those who have not been following the streamer for a determined amount of time. VIPs, subscribers and moderators can also be exempt.

Up to five accounts can be verified per phone number, and if one account is banned from the site, all those that are linked to the phone number will also be suspended.

“Hate and harassment of any kind is unacceptable and prohibited on Twitch, whether it’s an offensive message, malicious follows, or the egregious “hate raid” attacks that have targeted marginalized creators over the past month,” Twitch said in a blog post.

“Curbing this type of behaviour is, and will continue to be, a top priority for us. While we have tools available to help creators protect themselves, we know there will always be more to be done to stop hateful behaviour, especially by motivated individuals and groups.”

The measure has received a positive response on social media. RekItRaven—who started #TwitchDoBetter, which called for the company to do more to protect marginalised creators from hate raids—described the feature as “a great step”.

“It’s not the only one, but it’s good to see some serious changes happening on the platform to make sure that creators are kept safe,” they tweeted.

Twitch has also sued the users CruzzControl and CreatineOverdose, alleging that they created codes to carry out automated hate raids and bypass Twitch’s attempts to block the bot accounts.

The new measures come after the #ADayOffTwitch boycott resulted in between a 5% to 15% decrease in viewership on the platform, and almost two months after Twitch first responded to the issues raised by the #TwitchDoBetter hashtag.

Words by Ellen Leslie


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