The despair of instavidists over racism on Twitch

Raven is in her 30s, belongs to the black community, and identifies as a non-binary person. What occupies his days: creating content on Twitch, the largest platform for broadcasting live video games in the world.

But it is also the scene of outbursts of hatred that make life impossible for creators who are stigmatized for their skin color or their sexual orientation.

It’s very hard. [On me hait] for things that I don’t control, says this mother of two, on the verge of tears.

Faced with these recurring waves of racism and references to the Ku Klux Klan, she launched on Twitter the slogan “TwitchDoBetter” (Twitch must do better).

Dozens of players – mainly people of color and from the LGBTQ community – have rallied under this banner to denounce the platform’s inaction.

A livelihood

Because for many of these people, Twitch is more than a place for entertainment – it’s their place of work. Indeed, Raven earns income based on the number of subscriptions to her channel, and donations from her fans.

This gothic-style horror video game lover loves her job. Now, before a session, however, she has a whole list of technical parameters to configure, and volunteer moderators to mobilize to reduce the risk of an invasion of her conversation window.

Launched in 2011 and acquired by Amazon three years later, Twitch has more than 30 million visits per day.

The format of video games with live commentary by stars of the video game industry is one of its main attractions. However, all kinds of personalities and activities coexist on the platform.

Targeted transidentity

Gabriel Eriksson Sahlin, a Swedish teacher, plays Sims and Dragon Age under the pseudonym BabblingGoat (babbling goat).

24-year-old transgender man answers audience questions about gender identity while jumping on ledges in games and trying not to die, he sums up, laughing.

It helps young people, but also anxious parents, whose children want to start a gender transition. Nevertheless, he feels distressed by the upsurge in hatred in recent months.

This morning, I said to myself: “do I really want to connect?” I have a 99% risk of being harassed.

A quote from:Gabriel Eriksson Sahlin

The outbursts of hate range from the handful of people posting transphobic slurs to bots (bots in English) programmed to bombard him with messages inciting suicide, even ultraviolet images.

Twitch wants to do better

We know we need to do more to solve these problems, Twitch admitted in mid-August, amid the rise of Raven’s tagline.

The platform announced that it was preparing new security measures and that it fixed a flaw in its automatic filters. Without result, according to Internet users.

However, the community of players has ideas to better identify and exclude the culprits: two-factor authentication; delays imposed on new accounts before they can participate in conversations; increased powers for people who moderate … Twitch did not respond to a list of suggestions provided by Raven and sent by Agence France-Presse.

The persistence of trolls

The trolls are not short of methods. According to the victims, these Internet users who sow discord use programming slang that consists of misspelling forbidden words to pass between the meshes of moderation algorithms.

[Les trolls] always find a way.

A quote from:Mark Griffiths, video game psychologist at Nottingham Trent University

The impression of being anonymous and the feeling of impunity also facilitate these behaviors. The police are taking these matters more and more seriously, [mais] video games are still considered insignificant, he laments.

Anti-Semitism, also in the game

Chonki, a Jewish player who has been inundated with anti-Semitic messages and images of swastikas (swastikas), also questions the lack of support for the stars of the platform.

They would like instavidists who have the status of Twitch partners, and therefore enjoy considerable influence, to stop tolerate racist and misogynistic comments on their channel.

But even if the climate does not improve, the players do not have much of an alternative.

For Chonki and Raven, leaving would be like quitting their job, hence their anger at Twitch’s lack of responsiveness.[L’entreprise] take 50% of our income, but it can’t even protect us from harassment “,” text “:”[L’entreprise] takes 50% of our income, but it can’t even protect us from harassment “}}”>[L’entreprise] takes 50% of our income, but it can’t even protect us from harassment, the instavidéaste is indignant.

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