Twitch updates policies on hate speech, harassment and sexual content

The company hopes that better guidelines will lead to a safer space for all.


The fight against online hate speech and harassment continues to gain momentum. Twitter's new policies against such behavior went live last November, while Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg began the new year with a new pledge to combat abuse and hate, too. Now video game live-streaming platform Twitch has updated its community guidelines to be clearer about what constitutes harassment, hate speech, and sexual content, which are all already prohibited. The new rules will go into effect February 19th at 9:00 AM Pacific Time.

Last year, Twitch pivoted to allow more non-gaming content on its service. Since then, Twitch says that it's gotten complaints that its guidelines weren't clear or strong enough. "Today's update focuses on our anti-harassment and sexual content policies," the company wrote on its blog. "Our goal is to increase clarity, strength, and consistency across our entire moderation framework, as well as the frequency and level of detail of our moderation communications."

From now on, any content the company deems as hateful will result in an immediate suspension from the platform. Twitch will also suspend those who direct hateful or harassing conduct toward its members from other apps and services. Twitch is also updating its policies to further refine what content it deems as sexual in nature, taking into consideration more contextual elements like the title of your stream, camera angles, emotes, panels, clothing you wear, overlays and chat moderation. Twitch will reach out to streamers whose current and past content may violate these new rules in the meantime to help them transition away from it.