#ADayOffTwitch protest against homophobic hate raids causes viewer numbers to plummet
The #ADayOffTwitch protest caused Twitch concurrent viewers to drop by a million, according to data on TwitchTracker.
The campaign took place on 1 September and was instigated to highlight the influx of hate raids targeted at marginalised streamers on Twitch, where abusive bots flood streams.
The boycott was started by streamer ReikItRaven, who tweeted on the day it felt “cathartic”.
Today is #ADayOffTwitch and honestly — it feels cathartic.
I'll be spending this time with my family, gaming and hanging with friends and just taking a fucking breath.
This is not the end. But fuck, I am going to enjoy today.
That's #MyDayOffTwitch 💜
— Rek It, Raven! ☠ (@RekItRaven) September 1, 2021
According to TwitchTracker statistics, concurrent viewership on 1 September peaked around 3.5 million, a million drop from the previous day.
That makes it the only day across the past week to not hit 4 million concurrent viewers.
Some streamers with large followings took part in the day boycott, including LGBT+ ally Kaceytron who has over half a million followers on Twitch.
There are multiple suggestions that will help make twitch a better place for everyone. Thank you to @RekItRaven and all of the other strong voices who have made this happen. pic.twitter.com/cpJ3O4JfZm
— kaceytron (@kaceytron) September 1, 2021
However, the success of the protest is also testament to the many smaller, marginalised streamers who also took part in the boycott.
Participants shared the following demands on social media to push Twitch to take action against the hate raids, including:
- Hold a roundtable discussion with affected creators to assist with the creation and implementation of more proactive and comprehensive toolsets to combat abuse on their streaming platform.
- Creative proactive protection to be implemented immediately, enabling creators to select account age of prospective chatters and allow or deny incoming raids.
- Remove the ability to attach more than three Twitch accounts to an email address—currently, hate-raiders can use one email account to register unlimited addresses.
- Provide transparency into the actions being taken to protect creators, the timeframe for implementing those tools, and the involvement of the Twitch Safety Advisory Council.
While the drop in numbers is certainly significant and will have caused a drop in revenue for the platform, the protest has also become a huge talking point in the gaming community, despite streamers like Asmongold and Sodapoppin dismissing its impact.
Across gaming press and social media, #ADayOffTwitch was trending throughout the day.
It’s the widespread conversations around the protest that will put pressure on Twitch to make change.
Protecting your Twitch stream
While changes are on the way, Twitch has released an article detailing how to combat targeted attacks.
“Harassment of any kind, whether in the form of hate raids, malicious spam, or other targeted attacks, is against our Community Guidelines and counter to our community values,” it reads.
“We are continuing to build new features to prevent the harm caused by malicious spam, botting, and raiding, but in the meantime we wanted to highlight the tools that are currently available to help combat this kind of behavior.”
It then lists various options for streamers to protect themselves, including appointing moderators, turning on followers-only mode, and blocking raids from strangers.
Additionally, there are instructions to follow if your stream is hate raided.
While this puts the onus on streamers to protect themselves, Twitch are working on other solutions behind the scenes.
In the meantime, streaming software company Streamlabs have created their own solution with “Safe Mode”.
At the click of a button, streamers can initiate a number of preventative measures on their stream, including clearing the chat of messages; starting emote-only mode, follower-only mode and subscriber-only mode; and disabling chat alerts.
“Safety is at the forefront of every streamer’s mind right now. Streamlabs believes in fostering a supportive environment to ensure a positive experience for our streamers and their viewers. You and your community should feel safe to express yourselves without fear of being harassed,” reads their article.
While it’s great to see third party companies taking matters into their own hands, it’s hoped that Twitch themselves will step up soon with similar solutions.