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Twitching and turning: Gaming platform gets a new twist

By Raymond Dai and Bertina Fan Mar. 17, 2021

Rachel Kim Art

Over the past few years, Twitch has become an increasingly popular platform for gaming and internet culture, being used by influencers, celebrities and politicians alike. Despite its positive attributes, the platform has also faced several controversies regarding its creators as it continues to garner more popularity among young consumers.

Owned by Amazon, Twitch is the 16th most-visited website in the United States ahead of Etsy and Walmart, according to Wired. At any time, the site has approximately 2.1 million viewers, with 81.5 percent of its user base as male, and 55 percent of those viewers ranging from 18 to 34 years old.

Politicians, especially Democratic representatives and candidates, have streamed on Twitch to help encourage voting across younger demographics.

Outside of its most typical purposes, Twitch is sometimes used for political purposes. Politicians, especially Democratic representatives and candidates, have streamed on Twitch to help encourage voting across younger demographics. For example, in October 2020, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez played Among Us, a survival party game, alongside Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, which Wired reports became the third-largest stream in Twitch history with over 430,000 viewers. Ocasio-Cortez even claimed that the stream was the largest driver to In November 2020, Wired notes that Ocasio-Cortez also used a fundraising stream for local food pantries, eviction defense legal aid and community support organizations, raising a total of $200,000. More recently, according to ClutchPoints, a sports media outlet, AOC attracted over 600,000 live viewers from a stream discussing the GameStop stock situation. Other notable political advocates who used the platform to increase voter turnout include Hasan Piker, a liberal political commentator who ran an election week stream that drew over 230,000 viewers, and Nse Ufot, CEO of the nonprofit New Georgia Project, who streamed for 12 hours on the day of November general elections to encourage voting in Georgia.

...Twitch has come under fire over its inconsistent enforcement of regulations.

While Twitch has attracted a lot of positive press, in the past few months various controversies have also been problematic within the platform as well; for example, the removal of the “Pogchamp” emote, a type of emoji used within Twitch’s chat rooms. One of the platform’s most popular emotes, often seen in live stream chats and across the platform, Pogchamp was removed with almost no notice. Twitch explained that the person in the emote Ryan Gutierrez may have incited violence, because of controversial postings on Twitter after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Furthermore, Twitch has come under fire over its inconsistent enforcement of regulations. For instance, Natalia “Alinity” Mogollon, a controversial and popular streamer, was temporarily suspended over accidental nudity while streaming. However, the platform hesitated to ban the user, which ignited outcries about hypocrisy from other users. Moreover, Alinity has repeatedly faced calls to be banned after alleged abuse of her pets on camera. In contrast, other creators such as body painter MizzyRose have been wrongly suspended for nudity—body art is an exception to Twitch’s nudity policy—and often have to undergo extensive appeals processes in order to reverse their punishment.

“Twitch can fix its current problems by using common sense, having clear rules and only banning users who deserve to be banned. Animal abuse and nudity violate the site’s policies, and Twitch should have taken more action against Alinity,” Junior Jerry Cheng said.

While Twitch may be inching more towards more mainstream viewership and reaching out to a larger political audience, its controversial moderation practices could hold it back from being a platform that leaves a positive impact on internet culture.


About the Contributors

Raymond Dai

Staff Writer

Raymond Dai is a sophomore at Leland High School and a Staff Writer for the Charger Account. He likes to play video games, play badminton and go out biking in his free time.

Bertina Fan

Staff Writer

Bertina Fan is a sophomore at Leland High School and is a staff writer for The Charger Account. She likes to start off messages with "ヾ(°∇°*) Hi!"

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