Twitch streamers are planning to step away from the platform on September 1st for a day of protest, the Washington Post has reported. The #DayOffTwitch action aims to bring attention to a recent burst of harassment in the form of "hate raids" directed toward marginalized creators.
The day long walkout was spearheaded by Twitch streamers including RekitRaven, ShineyPen and Lucia Everblack. Those creators, who came up with the #TwitchDoBetter hashtag, were protesting Twitch's slow reaction to sexist, racist, transphobic and other forms of harassing messages. The abuse was often generated by bots, and had the effect of overwhelming chats to the point that creators had to cut off streams.
Streamers were particularly upset by Twitch expanding its list to include around 350 tags classified by "gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, ability, mental health, and more." While it may have helped creators better connect to fans, it made it easier for abusive users to harass creators. That often came in the form of "raids" that would flood a channel with racist slurs and abusive language.
A note about #ADayOffTwitch from the cast & crew of our streamed show.— Mother LandsRPG: Season 3! (@MotherlandsRPG) August 31, 2021
Please read & remember not everyone is free to take tomorrow off, no matter the level of support they have for the event. pic.twitter.com/Pu6lE8CucQ
"I’m just tired of it," RekItRaven (who declined to share their full name) told the Washington Post. “I’m tired of feeling like I’m not allowed to exist based off of circumstances that are out of my control, and I know other people are too.”
Streamers are left to their own devices with only community-developed resources to combat the issues. That includes things like a "panic button" that takes chat into a limited mode and limits the ability of new users with abusive names to join.
Twitch has promised to take action. "We support our streamers’ rights to express themselves and bring attention to important issues across our service. No one should have to experience malicious and hateful attacks based on who they are or what they stand for, and we are working hard on improved channel-level ban evasion detection and additional account improvements to help make Twitch a safer place for creators," the company told The Verge.
Creators are also protesting Twitch's revenue-sharing scheme, which allows it to take half the platform's revenue — but not for all creators. "We’re all very loudly aware that there are many who are getting 70/30 cuts, but there’s no criteria, no conversation, no goals, nothing,” black streamer Vanessa (PleasantlyTwstd) told the Washington Post.