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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Twitch suspends Donald Trump’s account ‘indefinitely’

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Two weeks ago, following the attack on the US Capitol Building, Twitch suspended the official account of former President Donald Trump. A representative said the move was necessary to “prevent Twitch from being used to incite further violence” leading up to the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20, and that the status of Trump’s account would be reassessed “after he leaves office.”

Today is the day, and Twitch has announced that, due to its view on his ongoing behavior, Trump’s account will not be reinstated.

❌ Twitch Partner “DonaldTrump” (@TeamTrump) has been banned! ❌https://t.co/50dZbS4CcU#twitch #ban #secondban #partner #twitchpartner 🈵January 20, 2021

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“We have indefinitely suspended President Trump’s Twitch channel due to the ongoing risk of further incitement of violence. The President’s statements continue to be interpreted as calls to action, and we are taking this action to remove the potential for harm to our community and the general public,” a Twitch rep said.

“Twitch has clear rules that prohibit hateful conduct, harassment, or incitement of violence on our service, and we consider off-service events when making enforcement decisions. However, the events of the past weeks have highlighted a gap with respect to rhetoric that encourages violence, regardless of whether or not it was directly streamed on Twitch. We will be updating our policies as a result of our consideration of this situation.”

Twitch’s policies on “Account Enforcements and Chat Bans” state that indefinite suspensions are reserved “for the most serious offenses,” and that “no opportunity to appeal” is provided. 

Twitch has been taking more proactive steps toward moderating content on its platform in recent months, instituting bans on the Confederate Flag, blackface, unwelcome sexual comments, and the original PogChamp emote, following an expression of support for Capitol attackers by original PogChamp face Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez.

But questions about its willingness and ability to effectively enforce those policies persist, and the behavior of some of its audience remains an issue as well. The launch of a rotating PogChamp program aimed at highlighting the diversity of its creator community, for instance, resulted in racist harassment and threats against streamer Omega “Critical Bard” Jones.

Regarding politicians, Twitch has increasingly become a platform for elected officials over the past few years, with US congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in particular taking the lead on Twitch streaming in recent months. The attack on the US Capitol that precipitated Trump’s initial suspension was also a major event on Twitch: Streamer HasanAbi’s livestream of the insurrection attracted more than 225,000 concurrent viewers.

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