Yesterday’s planned #ADayOffTwitch protest appears to have made an impact on the platform’s overall viewer totals, as users aimed to make their voices heard to support marginalised streamers who regularly face hate speech and coordinated attacks from bigots on their channels.
Stats site Twitchtracker shows around a million fewer viewers were tuned into the streaming giant during its daily peak yesterday, when the platform’s average peak of 4.5 million concurrent viewers sat at around 3.5 million instead.
Many streamers voiced their support for the protest yesterday, although there was squabbling among some channels which did continue to broadcast for various reasons, including some seemingly taking advantage of big names being offline.
Accounts of Twitch’s raid feature (which transfers an entire channel’s worth of viewers into another channel at once) being used to attack others on the platform have spiralled over the past few weeks. Twitch previously said it knew it needed “to do more to address these issues” and admitted there was a “vulnerability in our proactive filters” it would continue to work on, as bad agents played a cat-and-mouse game to stay ahead of Twitch’s improvements.
“These hate raids have escalated into dangerous territory where people are being doxxed. I don’t expect to know the tools they’re building, but a timeline would be nice. ‘Eventually’ isn’t good enough.”
I stand with all my fellow creators who have to deal with hate raids and all other forms of harassment— Parris (@vicious696) September 1, 2021
today needs to be a starting point for action, awareness and real solutions to end the hate towards People of Color for just being who we are#ADayOffTwitch #TwitchDoBetter pic.twitter.com/SswM9hAPD7
Twitch has not addressed the drop in viewers specifically, but today issued a blanket statement in support of its users’ right to protest.
“We support our streamers’ rights to express themselves and bring attention to important issues across our service,” a Twitch spokesperson told Eurogamer.
“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.”
For those affected by hate raids on the platform, Twitch points to a Combating Targeted Attacks resource page, while it works to improve its platform.
Raiding is just one avenue for those seeking to attack another channel, Twitch admits, though one which can be disabled by setting the feature to only accept raids from friends or channels they follow.
In the meantime, streamers are keen to take matters into their own hands. I liked this idea put together by streamer nutty on setting a voice-detected “panic button” which immediately changes the channel to subscriber-only mode, clears the chat and – brilliantly – switches the room’s lighting so viewers quickly notice the chsange. It’s a great use of a #ADayOffTwitch, and something worth Twitch taking a look at including officially:
I used #ADayOffTwitch to create a “panic” button. It’s a voice and/or chat activated command to swiftly stop a hate raid by enabling sub only mode, clearing chat plus some fun little additions to turn what would be a negative experience into something light hearted. pic.twitter.com/Ckff549MVM— nutty (@nuttylmao) September 2, 2021