Anger at Twitch

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RobertForster

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#1  Edited By RobertForster

I think we all have heard by now about the heinous mass murder at a crowded grocery store in Buffalo, NY. The shooter was supposedly radicalized on a hate based Twitch channel. How can Twitch, who take down channels as fast as the speed of light will allow for unlicensed music or a nip slip, not take down or notice a channel preaching violent hatred and racism until people are dead? I don’t know. It seems like they don’t have their priorities straight. Is anyone else angry about this? What happened?

Edit: I don’t mean to imply that my anger is predominantly at Twitch. It is not. Of course, most of my anger is at our unwillingness to pass good gun control laws and at racism in general.

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brian_

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#2  Edited By brian_

I'm guessing Twitch doesn't have an algorithm to detect people getting murdered. And if they did, it'd probably cause some conflict with all the murder that goes on in video games.

As someone who lives in Buffalo, about 5-10 minutes from where this happened, Twitch is the least of my worries about this shit. I don't give a fuck about Twitch. Go after racists. Go after gun laws. Go after people that radicalize this shit on national tv. Go after the places on the internet that actually let this shit fester.

EDIT: I haven't heard anything about him being radicalized by a Twitch channel.

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LapsarianGiraff

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#3  Edited By LapsarianGiraff

@brian_: Pretty much exactly this, yeah.

At a certain point, the issue is larger than the moderation policies of a streaming site. The real issue is decades of GOP rhetoric portraying black men as dangerous criminals, promoting xenophobia and pinning all their failings to address real societal issues (sky-high wage inequality, healthcare, pathetically weak unions during a new Gilded Age) on the cultural bogeymen of the moment.

This terrorism is exactly what conservatives are promoting while trying to play dumb, and they'll happily do so until our rights are back in the early 20th century. Don't let them get away with it.

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bigsocrates

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@lapsariangiraff: Everything that you say is a problem is a problem.

However the use of social media to radicalize and promote extreme ideologies and the failure of platforms to control and curtail these behaviors is also a real problem. This particular mass murderer was obsessed specifically with "replacement theory," a confused collection of racist beliefs that amount to white people somehow being 'replaced' by immigrants and inferior races (murdering a bunch of mostly US born black people in Buffalo is an incoherent response to what replacement theory actually says, but most of these people are not very bright.)

From a technical perspective locating racist language or murder are not very easy for an automatic system, but every social media site (including Twitch) needs better reporting and moderation features, and needs to pull the plug on extremist ieology much faster than they already do.

Part of not letting them roll back rights and roll on fascism is stopping the social media radicalization cycle, and part of that has to be done on social media.

Tucker Carlson should also, of course, be immediately fired and shunned, but that goes without saying.

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LapsarianGiraff

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@bigsocrates: But the use of Twitch is a symptom, not the core issue. It can help, sure, but saying that the issue is that Twitch needs to up its moderation is like coming to the scene of a murder and saying, "obviously, the problem is that there was a knife to stab this guy with," ignoring the fact there's several other objects in the vicinity that'll do just fine with murderous intent. If you curb on Twitter, they move to 8chan or Truth Social. If you curb on Twitch, they go somewhere else. So it's very clear to me, that while demonstrating this kind of hate is not acceptable on social media is a part of that, that's lower on the list of priorities that only works as part of a holistic denunciation of these parties in general.

We can cry foul about social media radicalization all we like (and believe me, I have,) but until we truly address the underlying bigotry and fear that's powering that radicalization, it's moot.

TL;DR: My first thought when seeing a mass shooting livestreamed is not, "how dare the livestreamer!" it's, "how dare we enable mass shooters with mainstream conservative rhetoric?" Now that's a much larger scope than a video game forum, but frankly, this topic is out of scope for a video game forum. Tunnel visioning on the platforms themselves will only get you so far.

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BisonHero

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@robertforster: None of the reporting I’ve seen has indicated that a Twitch channel was involved in radicalizing this murderer. Are you sure you heard that correctly? The hateful beliefs espoused by the shooter are said to be from his time on 4chan, reading /pol/. I think it’s a pretty known, long-standing issue that there are pretty bad elements on parts of 4chan.

Back to Twitch: those beliefs, if seriously preached on a Twitch channel, would likely get the channel banned very quickly due to running afoul of TOS in regards to racism, hate speech, etc.

The Twitch anger I’m aware of on this case is just that the shooter livestreamed it on the Twitch platform for a few minutes before being banned, and he wasn’t a regular streamer on the site, so who were his viewers/followers on Twitch that day? Maybe they had advance knowledge that he was going to do something but did nothing to alert law enforcement? I don’t know if there are legal grounds to compel Twitch to provide information about those viewers.

Overall it sounds like Discord might be in hotter water than Twitch, as there’s some reporting that the shooter discussed his plans on some Discord server. But the Discord stuff hasn’t been fully confirmed afaik.

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bigsocrates

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@lapsariangiraff: Interesting that you use "knife" in your example instead of "guns." Gun control alone will not stop mass murders, of course, but it can help, as many countries have shown. Likewise curbing social media does not stop the spread of extreme ideology, but it can help.

IN point of fact people do NOT move to Truth Social. Those right wing sites have very few users and most of them migrate back to Twitter or other mainstream sites. They want to spread their vile lies to everyone, not just the already committed.

Which brings up why stopping the spread of such material on Twitch or Twitter or whatever is important. A lot of people who would not seek out radical material will check it out of it is presented to them, and some subset will get drawn in. Exiling them all to Truth Social or whatever would do a lot to stop people from being radicalized.

Now am I claiming that better moderation on social media is a panacea? Of course not. But the fact that it won't cure the disease, only lessen some of the symptoms, doesn't mean it's not important. That's like saying that if someone is sick and has a bad fever we shouldn't give them fever reducing drugs because those drugs won't cure them. They won't, but they're still an important part of the treatment plan. You treat the symptoms and the underlying disease.

So do I think that Twitch is the most responsible party here? Not at all. Obviously not. Do I think that social media companies doing a better job of moderating would help somewhat and is an important thing to strive for? Yes. It will help, somewhat. Am I angry at Twitch and other social media companies for their bad moderation and the ways that plays into radicalization? I am.

They don't have to be the worst actors or primary cause to deserve blame for their bad actions. Not having good moderation tools for hate speech and violence is bad, and they deserve criticism for it. It causes real harm.

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bigsocrates

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@bisonhero: People are mad at Twitch because they let him livestream the murder (though they did eventually ban him because even Twitch won't actually allow you to livestream murder) and they allow a lot of bad content on their platform despite complaints while being super strict about less important issues like copyright and nudity.

And their legal obligations to report behavior to the police is not relevant for holding them morally accountable. They absolutely could interface with authorities better (though how much we want Twitch calling the cops on people is an open question; I certainly wouldn't for things like drug use.)

Streaming sites have been used to stream a lot of actual heinous activity for a reason, and that's because they don't do a good enough job of identifying and banning that stuff quickly. For the most extreme cases (like this, an actual mass murder in progress) they generally will after enough people flag it, but all too often they allow people to stay on their platforms despite doing and saying some pretty bad stuff. And they don't focus enough on using automoderation to identify and automatically ban this stuff before others get to see any of it.

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LapsarianGiraff

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#9  Edited By LapsarianGiraff

@bigsocrates: I picked knife just out of the blue, no special significance or political slant to that. (Though, I don't want to derail the thread, but gun control is a lot more complicated in the US than it is in other countries due to how damn many we have floating around, laws or no.)

I agree with everything you're saying. I agree Twitch is in the wrong for letting it happen at all. Overall, I'm just a little indignant, and it's not anyone in this thread's fault, but man is Twitch low on the list of things in my mind regarding the rise of hate crimes right now. Still worth holding them to account, I agree.

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RagTagBag

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#10  Edited By RagTagBag

@lapsariangiraff: How can you be mad at Twitch for letting it happen? It’s basically impossible for Twitch to stop what happened before it happened and they stopped it in a reasonable amount of time. They can’t actively monitor every single stream. The same thing could happen on any other streaming service.

Were there more than 10s of people watching his stream?

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Shindig

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As others have said, I don't see twitch as the driving force of his radicalisation. He was radicalised on 4chan because the people that fester there don't know what's real, ironic or 'just a prank' until it happens. It maybe highlights the biggest problem with moderation (the response time) but, you have to assume someone shut that stream down at the earliest available moment.

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#12  Edited By mellotronrules  Online
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Efesell

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Twitch definitely has a slew of problems, they don't seem to care much about getting a hand on the blatant harassment campaigns that go on against marginalized folks streaming on the platform for a big recent one.

But I don't know how much I associate them with the typical radicalization pipeline. I think that's still more the domain of the Chans and the youtube algorithm.

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LapsarianGiraff

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@ragtagbag: I'm not entirely sure you read everything I said. Like I said, my ire with Twitch is VERY low on my priorities.

But, can I be upset that this is not the first time a live-streamed massacre has occurred on their platform, regardless of how difficult it may be to moderate? Yes. Yes, I can.

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sub_o

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I don't think Twitch has automated system to detect real life murder on stream. It definitely has automation to detect copyrighted music, however it relies on people to flag other stuff.

My assumption is that most of the viewers of the mass murderer's livestream, weren't reporting him or weren't reporting him fast enough.

Gaming has sadly becoming cesspool that creates extremist, but I'm not talking about the violence depiction, more of the community, where you hear slurs being hurled all the time, and streamers and youtubers that are leaning towards bigoted views are being rewarded and promoted by the platforms.

It's not the only pipeline, of course. From 4chan, alt-right sites, youtube, gaming forums, fox news, epoch times, etc.

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Nodima

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#16  Edited By Nodima
@bisonhero said:

The Twitch anger I’m aware of on this case is just that the shooter livestreamed it on the Twitch platform for a few minutes before being banned, and he wasn’t a regular streamer on the site, so who were his viewers/followers on Twitch that day? Maybe they had advance knowledge that he was going to do something but did nothing to alert law enforcement? I don’t know if there are legal grounds to compel Twitch to provide information about those viewers.

Overall it sounds like Discord might be in hotter water than Twitch, as there’s some reporting that the shooter discussed his plans on some Discord server. But the Discord stuff hasn’t been fully confirmed afaik.

Because editing a post involving quotes is a clusterfuck, I'd add that anyone watching on the Twitch stream tentaively appears to have been aware of it primarily because of some final Discord posts, in which the account alleged to be Gendron's announced that he was ready to act and broadcast what he called a test stream of himself driving to the location that rolled directly into the violence as he immediately shot someone while exiting his vehicle, which is where most of the clips people seem to have seen starts.

So...yeah, I'd agree that if anybody's in hot water here, it's mostly Discord for not having a way to explicitly and closely monitor accounts that express this kind of sentiment for a prolonged period, with other slower moving social networks like Facebook bearing plenty of blame for the video lingering on its servers for the better part of a full work day. Twitch, on the other hand, was in a hard place during an extremely obscure stream of a guy driving initially, but once it became clear the intent was serious it sounds by all accounts like they acted remarkably swiftly.

Regarding the bolded statement, per Washington Post:

When the Buffalo gunman broadcast the shooting in real time Saturday on the live-streaming site Twitch, only 22 people were watching, and company officials said they’d removed it with remarkable speed — within two minutes of the first gunshots.

But all it took was for one viewer to save a copy and redistribute it online. A jumble of video-hosting sites, extremist message boards and some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names did the rest, ensuring millions of people would view the video.

One copy made its way onto the little-known video site Streamable, where, thanks to links posted on much larger sites, it was viewed more than 3 million times before it was removed. One link to that copy on Facebook received more than 500 comments and 46,000 shares; Facebook did not remove it for more than 10 hours.

Regarding the italicized statement, per NY Times (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/16/nyregion/buffalo-shooting-suspect-discord-chat.html - again, sorry, editing a post with quotes sucks)

For months before the mass shooting in Buffalo that killed 10 people, a teenager mulled potential targets, posted racist and antisemitic memes and messages and updated his plans.

He considered targeting a predominantly Black elementary school in Buffalo, but decided it would be too difficult to enter. He mulled traveling to Rochester for an attack, or even to Maryland, but admitted of the second target, “I don’t have a plan for that.”

In the days before the attack, he posted pictures of himself and of a gun, on which he’d written in Wite-Out the names of other mass shooters.

The messages appear to have been posted on the chat application Discord by a writer who identified himself as Payton Gendron, before they were uploaded to internet forums as a pair of comprehensive documents.

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AV_Gamer

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#17  Edited By AV_Gamer

I'm sorry guys, but the OP is right overall. Some of the people replying are acting like Twitch never had an issue with racism on their platform before. Remember the racism raids, where Twitch channels of black people and others non-white groups got flooded with vicious racist spam and threats on their chat. This hasn't stopped BTW. There are also examples of popular white Twtich streamers whom got caught calling black people the N-Word and nothing happened them. They didn't get banned or even suspended. One popular female streamer, Pokeme or whatever her name is, even got a promotion to being co-owner of EVO Fighting Game Championships replacing Mr. Wizard. Reddit, 4Chan, and 8Chan are also to blame. Funny how so-called Rico laws don't apply to all the people who were cheering this guy on before he committed his act. An act he was planning since 15 years old, according to his own manifesto. The bottomline Twitch has a racism problem that hasn't changed with a simple blackout day, in fact, that protest actually embolden them even more.

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MindBullet

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For anyone interested, Twitch just released their statement about the incident.

As many members of our community are already aware, on Saturday May 14, 2022, a gunman opened fire in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket and started streaming it on Twitch. We are heartbroken over this tragedy. This was a violent act of white supremacy, and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms. Our hearts go out to all those affected by this hate crime — the victims, their loved ones, the greater Buffalo community, and the Black community everywhere who are victimized by acts of white supremacy and racism.

White supremacism, racism, and hatred should have no place anywhere, especially on Twitch, and undermine the vibrant and diverse community we are working together to build. We have a zero-tolerance policy against violence of any kind, and we use several mechanisms to detect, escalate, and remove violence on Twitch. This includes proactive detection, and 24/7 review and urgent escalations for your user reports.

In this case, we identified and removed the stream less than two minutes after the violence began, and permanently banned the user from our service. We are taking all possible action to stop the footage and related content from spreading on Twitch, including monitoring and removing accounts or content rebroadcasting footage of the incident.

We are working closely with several law enforcement agencies (such as the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and NYPD Cyber Intelligence Unit) to ensure they have access to any and all information that will aid in the investigation and prosecution of this heinous crime. We are also collaborating with other tech companies through the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism to share relevant information and limit the spread of this footage online.

We take our responsibility to protect our community extremely seriously, and trust and safety is a major area of investment. As we’ve shared in the past, live content moderation presents unique challenges, and we are continuously evaluating our policies, processes, and products to keep our community safe. We’ll be examining this incident carefully and sharing those learnings with our peers in the industry to support a safer internet overall.

This is a difficult time for many members of our community, and we stand with everyone who is grieving this moment. Our Twitch Cares page and the resources for crisis management on our Safety Center can help if you or your community members are struggling.

Bigotry and hate don’t happen in a vacuum. They’re enabled by a permissive culture when we don’t create spaces where people feel empowered to speak up. We thank you for the advocacy that you bring to Twitch every day, and for the user reports that help us catch and remove harmful content in real time. We will continue investing in our commitment to preventing behavior and content that lead to harm, and amplifying positive voices in the space.

Seems like the most basic of responses, but I never really expected more. As long as hateful, racist dialogue is allowed to position itself as an expression of free speech, and there's money to be made there, I really don't think any major platform will take drastic actions to curb it too much.

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RobertForster

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To @bisonhero‘s point, I was mistaken about the extent to which Twitch had in radicalizing the shooter and I partially retract that statement. But, I agree with everything @bigsocrates’ said. I still think that he was radicalized through social media at large and Twitch is not completely blameless for being ineffective policing Hate speech compared to other less important things on their site.

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RagTagBag

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#20  Edited By RagTagBag

@av_gamer: It had nothing to do with Twitch having a racism problem. Everything on the internet has a racism problem. Twitch isn't more or less racist than any other site that has a global presence. He would’ve been able to stream his hate crime on whatever streaming platform he wanted. Name one streaming service that has a system in place that could’ve prevented what happened. I'm pretty sure some form of snuff content has been uploaded to every video service. He didn’t pick Twitch because it’s some haven for racists.

The only way to eliminate what happened is to stop allowing video to be streamed or uploaded to internet without manual approval. Not letting a kid who threatened to shoot up a school buy a gun would also probably help.

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eccentrix

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I'm annoyed that Twitch shut down the Twitch Desktop App and will soon stop having friends list functionality. They say they're removing the friends lists because nobody's messaging each other, but I use it to see my friends' activity and for discoverability. I used the Twitch Desktop App primarily for desktop notifications, which I can't find a good alternative for. Plus I'm still angry about Twitch Prime not including getting rid of ads. Ads on a livestreaming service are just a way of annoying users by blocking content unless they give you money.