Twitch will ban streamers who frequently share misinformation

A new policy takes aim at falsehoods about COVID-19 vaccines as well as Russian state media.

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Twitch has updated its misinformation policies and says it will ban those who frequently share falsehoods. Under the new rules, the platform will block “harmful misinformation superspreaders who persistently share misinformation on or off of Twitch," as The New York Times first reported.

"Every day, people come together on Twitch to build communities that celebrate a variety of interests, passions, and talents," Twitch wrote in a blog post. "We’re proud that Twitch can bring people together — but we do not believe that individuals who use online services to spread false, harmful information, have a place in our community. While these individuals are not prevalent on Twitch, they could cause significant harm if allowed on our service."

Fewer than 100 channels will be affected by the policy at the outset, Twitch said. It sees these primarily as precautionary measures. For the platform to take action under these rules, channels must meet several criteria. "We seek to remove users whose online presence is dedicated to persistently sharing widely disproven and broadly shared harmful misinformation topics," the policy reads.

The "Harmful Misinformation Actors" rules cover lies about COVID-19 vaccines and election fraud, as well as conspiracy theories related to dangerous medical treatments. The policy also means that those who peddle "misinformation promoted by conspiracy networks tied to violence and/or promoting violence" or share falsehoods that could put public safety at risk during emergencies risk being booted off of the platform.

Twitch says it works with independent misinformation experts like the Global Disinformation Index, along with election boards and congressional certification to assess civic misinformation claims, such as election fraud and ballot tampering.

The platform also noted to The Times that the policy applies to Russian state-run media channels that are spreading lies, though it has only spotted one of those to date. Other platforms — such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify and Reddit — have banned, labeled or limited the spread of content from Russian state media outlets over the last week amid the country's invasion of Ukraine.

It's notable that the policy covers actions carried out by creators outside of their Twitch streams. If you learn about a streamer who may be violating the away from Twitch, you can report them by email. Last year, the service said it would ban users for serious misconduct that took place offline or on other platforms.