The social media platform Twitch, which the young people use for all their gaming stuff, has added offline activity to the list of things that can result in discipline on their platform, up to suspension for an indefinite amount of time. Twitch is working with an “investigations law firm” to validate claims and will also include law enforcement evidence in determining its actions. It won’t take action until the investigation is complete.
Although the actions that could result in discipline include obviously illegal action, such as deadly violence, terrorism, sexual assault, and grooming children for sexual assault, they’ve said the guidelines are iterative, which means they’re likely to grow. The company, which is owned by Amazon, said it’s concentrating on the most harmful first.
Twitch is one of the channels used by professional gamers (God help us all) to monetize their gaming. If you talk to my son, he’ll tell you all about it (the same way I could’ve told you about the MTV back in the day).
In a sense, it’s where gamers go to work. They can monetizing their gaming on Twitch. If that’s the case, rather than being an intrusion on freedom, these moves could be more akin to a professional sports league suspending or banning a player for similar actions.
The move came after a guy named Dominykas Zeglaitis, an online personality, was accused of raping a woman who was intoxicated at a group video Zeglaitis appeared in. The Vlog Squad, an online group Zeglaitis was part of, admitted that Zeglaitis, charmingly known as Durte Dom, coerced two underaged women into a kiss after providing them alcohol. The women allege that they were too intoxicated to consent to the sexual situations they were put in.
If an athlete were accused of doing this–and if part of the accusation were confirmed–odds are very good that they’d be suspended based on the protocols agreed upon with that league’s collective bargaining agreement.
It’s possible, given things, that these requirements could extend beyond criminal actions, into the kind of perceived unfairness that’s prompting Republicans to want to strip social media liability protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That hasn’t happened yet.
In the meantime, Twitch is a privately owned social media company that can revoke access as it sees fit. And there are worse things to do than to prevent people who violate the law from accessing social media, especially when those violations involve social media activities.