Despite millions of streamers logging into Twitch every day to share details of their private lives with their followers, Twitch is apparently not a free speech platform, according to its CEO, Emmett Shear. The CEO laid down the law at TwitchCon telling streamers that Twitch is a community, and that community has to abide by certain rules.
Speaking to The Verge earlier this month at the San Diego-based event, Shear noted that Twitch is not a platform for sharing everything, and that speech is generally freer when there’s better moderation.
“It’s very explicitly not a free speech platform,” Shear told The Verge. “I hope people can express themselves. I hope they can share their ideas, share their thoughts. But we’re not a platform for free speech. We’re not upholding the First Amendment. That’s the government’s job.”
Shear also noted that subreddits on Reddit with stronger moderation generally had “freer” speech, and that communities on collaborative platforms need to have stringent terms of service so that people who go against them can be punished accordingly.
Twitch currently has a three strike rule for streamers. Anyone who disobeys the streaming platform’s ToS or community guidelines will be temporarily suspended on the first two offences and banned permanently on the third. Twitch’s community guidelines also has an extensive policy on hateful conduct with some things – like harassment – bannable on first offence depending on severity.
With categories such as Just Chatting on the rise and streamers currently voicing their opinion on things like #BoycottBlizzard, it’ll be interesting to see the ramifications from Shear’s comments, and how far Twitch are prepared to go to shut down those who breach its guidelines.