Twitch has updated its community guidelines, the rules that govern the site, to clarify its ban of terrorist and extremist content. The move appears to be in order to strengthen its language around that sort of material.
Here’s what it added, per Engadget:
Twitch does not allow content that depicts, glorifies, encourages, or supports terrorism, or violent extremist actors or acts. This includes threatening to or encouraging others to commit acts that would result in serious physical harm to groups of people or significant property destruction. You may not display or link terrorist or extremist propaganda, including graphic pictures or footage of terrorist or extremist violence, even for the purposes of denouncing such content.
Updating its community guidelines is a smart way for Twitch to further elucidate how it plans to deal with offending material in the future. This new definition of terrorist and extremist content is interesting because it’s actually quite general: it’s easy to imagine this logic being applied to ban, say, depictions of white supremacist violence on the platform.
All that said, what’s most interesting about this update is hidden in the last line of the new text: “You may not display or link terrorist or extremist propaganda, including graphic pictures or footage of terrorist or extremist violence, even for the purposes of denouncing such content.” (Emphasis mine.) That’s quite clear. You’re not allowed to post any sort of extremist violence on the platform, even if your goal is to educate your viewers.
It’ll be interesting to see which, if any, channels take issue with the new language. I can see it being a potential problem for news organizations streaming events and protests on the ground — what if another Charlottesville happens? Will the channels streaming the event get banned? It’s an open question. Even so, it’s a smart way for the company to take a stand on an issue that’s habitually plagued other social media platforms. It’s important to remember that it was only a year ago that a man live-streamed himself on Twitch attacking a synagogue in Germany.