Homophobic hate raids are tearing Twitch apart, but one streamer is determined ‘change will happen’
Twitch are working on a hate raid solution, but streamers still feel the platform is in a dire state.
Streamer RekItRaven instigated both the #TwitchDoBetter and #ADayOffTwitch campaigns, designed to highlight the abuse received by marginalised streamers on the platform.
Specifically, that abuse is from hate raids from follower bots who raid a stream with racist and transphobic messages.
The #ADayOffTwitch campaign is asking streamers and viewers – if they’re able to – to stay off the platform on 1 September in protest, pushing Twitch to find a solution to the hate raid issue more quickly.
Since the campaign began, Raven has been able to meet personally with Twitch to discuss a solution.
Of course, specifics of the solution cannot be divulged publicly as this could undermine the approach. But Raven is confident in the changes being made.
I am confident in this. @Twitch is listening and working actively on providing proactive tools to help combat these hate raids and are doing so with as much speed as possible
Change will happen.
Thank y'all for keeping the fight. The fight is not done but we are getting closer! https://t.co/84yTESdQOm
— ʀᴇᴋ ɪᴛ, ʀᴀᴠᴇɴ! ☠🔪 (@RekItRaven) August 26, 2021
“The team [at Twitch] I spoke with seemed impacted by the issues that were discussed and it genuinely felt like they were rightfully concerned,” Raven told Pink News.
“I will say what made me comfortable was that they weren’t trying to sway me away from continuing to fight and to protest.”
She continued: “I remain cautiously optimistic. I know there are so many people that love the platform despite its shortcomings and we wouldn’t be fighting if we didn’t.”
The power of smaller streamers on Twitch
Raven has been celebrated by the community for her campaigning work. And it’s testament to the power of marginalised streamers that Twitch has listened and a solution is in the works.
That’s despite some of the biggest streamers on Twitch belittling the campaign, such as Asmongold and Sodapoppin who both believed the campaign wouldn’t pick up steam due to a lack of support from big streamers.
Ironically, speaking about the campaign to their millions of followers has only highlighted both the campaign itself and their privilege.
Asmongold in particular was called out on social media for his lack of allyship, specifically by UK streamer BiggusBennus.
Asmongold responded on-stream saying “You’re a clown, a hypocrite. You make hate threads about me because I disagree with your slacktivism, you’re pathetic.”
— BiggusBennus 🌈 (@biggusbennus1) August 24, 2021
BiggusBennus has since received harassment from Asmongold’s community.
“Asmongold failed to realise that the protest itself wasn’t about causing Twitch to lose money, but to raise awareness of the raids themselves and push Twitch into doing something as a matter of urgency,” BiggusBennus told Pink News.
“His followers accuse me of harassment when I criticised his dismissal of smaller streamers, yet I’m the one getting death threats, emails calling me homophobic slurs and a constant stream of abuse across all my social media.
“When he discussed my tweet in front of thousands of people on his channel for 20 minutes, he knew what would happen and did it anyway. His hypocrisy is outstanding.”
More recently, Scottish comedian Limmy has said he’ll be participating in the #ADayOffTwitch campaign. It’s hoped that others may follow suit.
I'll be taking part in this. https://t.co/Evyuvtl1QM
— twitch.tv/Limmy (@DaftLimmy) August 28, 2021
There are also plenty of streamers unable to take the day off and participate. The important point is raising awareness and pushing Twitch to make change.
The current state of Twitch
Despite some positive moves, the mood on Twitch is somewhat downbeat with many marginalised streamers afraid to go live until a solution to hate raids is found.
Streamer Negaoryx asked streamers about the current state of Twitch. Many who replied have become disenfranchised with the platform, are disappointed by the lack of transparency, and feel Twitch has poor PR.
checking in: from veteran streamers who've been with the site since launch, new streamers just getting started, viewers, moderators and everyone in between. how do you feel about the current state of @Twitch?
— negaoryx (@negaoryx) August 26, 2021
— Bryan Veloso 💙 (@avalonstar) August 26, 2021
A friend I made early in my streaming career asked me “remember when Twitch was fun?” and WHEW, it hurt
I love streaming, but the state of the platform, the hate raids, and the constant discourse online from it has been…a lot. It doesn’t feel like we can just ~enjoy~ it, now
— Jeff Brutlag 🏳️🌈 (@jeffbrutlag) August 27, 2021
We’re angry because these hate raids are making it impossible to enjoy what we normally love doing. We’re angry because product & other roll outs are happening while we get silence on what help the platform is working on to fight hate raids.
— Cypher | Watch Game Changer on #BETHerTV (@cypheroftyr) August 27, 2021
A major issue is that Twitch has a monopoly on streaming services. Change is needed, but unless those affected are heard it will be slow.
Change is on the way, though, as Raven has explained. For Twitch it seems a solution to hate raids is not a question of how, but when?