Twitch Suspends Trump’s Channel for ‘Hateful Conduct’

Twitch Suspends Trump’s Channel for ‘Hateful Conduct’

Twitch Suspends Trump’s Channel for ‘Hateful Conduct’

Twitch Suspends Trump’s Channel for ‘Hateful Conduct’

Twitch, the livestreaming platform, said on Monday that it was suspending President Trump’s channel for “hateful conduct,” in what appeared to be the first deliberate suspension of one of Mr. Trump’s social media accounts.

Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, said two recent streams on Mr. Trump’s channel violated its rules. One stream was of a rebroadcasted 2015 campaign event in which Mr. Trump made comments about Mexico sending drugs, crime and rapists over the border. The other was of his recent rally in Tulsa, Okla., where he talked about a “very tough hombre” breaking into a woman’s house at 1 a.m.

“Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch,” a Twitch spokeswoman said in a statement. “In line with our policies, President Trump’s channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed.”

It was unclear how long the suspension would last.

Twitch’s move stands out for going further than other social media platforms. In recent months, some tech companies have become more proactive in handling speech issues by Mr. Trump and his supporters. Twitter began adding labels to some of the president’s tweets; Snap has said it will stop promoting Mr. Trump’s Snapchat account; and Reddit on Monday said it would ban “The_Donald” community, which had been a highly influential digital gathering place for Mr. Trump’s acolytes.

But unlike those efforts, Twitch is directly clamping down on the president himself and temporarily shutting down his ability to post videos on a channel. The only other time Mr. Trump had one of his social media accounts suspended was by accident in 2017, when his Twitter account was unexpectedly disabled by a rogue contractor who was leaving Twitter that day.

One of the few social media companies that has maintained it does not want to police free speech is Facebook. Last week, the company announced it would expand its hate speech policies and label posts from political figures who violate rules as “newsworthy,” but has not said it would remove posts or explain what is inaccurate or hateful about them, like Twitter has.

Cindy Otis, a disinformation expert and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, said Twitch’s move might pressure other companies to ratchet up their actions.

“You have to sort of wonder, if smaller platforms start taking more aggressive or harder action on what they consider harmful content or on the disinformation side — will that end up pressuring the larger platforms to do more as well?” Ms. Otis asked.

But, she added, “if stuff gets removed from one platform, it simply migrates to another.”

Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign, did not address Twitch’s suspension directly but said in a statement that people should download the Trump campaign app or text the campaign’s automated number to “hear directly from the president.”

Twitch is not one of Mr. Trump’s top social media channels. His channel began streaming only last October and had amassed more than 125,000 followers and 113 streams, compared with his more than 83 million followers on Twitter. By Monday afternoon, the URL for Mr. Trump’s Twitch channel displayed a message saying “that content is unavailable.”

This is a developing news story. Check back for updates.


Source link

Check Also

What Hong Kong’s Pandemic Experience Taught Uber About Other Cities

What Hong Kong’s Pandemic Experience Taught Uber About Other Cities

What Hong Kong’s Pandemic Experience Taught Uber About Other Cities What Hong Kong’s Pandemic Experience …