Policing off-platform behavior

The legal stupidity of the new Twitch policy on off-platform comportment should be easy to understand on the basis of the idea that it assumes bloggers like me have the right to police your behavior away from this platform if you agree to this blog’s contract of adhesion by leaving a comment here.

On Wednesday, Twitch announced an expansion of its Hateful Conduct and Harassment Policy that takes into account behavior taking place off of the platform. A blog post from the company shared that the it is bringing on a “third party investigative partner” to support Twitch’s internal team with investigations, and to help enforce off-platform violations.

Per Twitch’s post, the new partner is an “experienced investigations law firm” that will help the company to “more thoroughly investigate and respond to reports of off-service misconduct.” In addition to adding sheer numbers to the team that investigates incident reports, the post also shared that there will a dedicated email address for people to report “egregious, off-service misconduct.”

While disciplining users for off-platform behavior isn’t new to Twitch — inappropriate behavior off the platform has led to bans since 2018 — this addition will beef up existing policies that the company started enforcing in Jan. 2020. Prior to the announcement, it was unclear how the company would address off-platform violations.

The problem, of course, is that virtually no one is willing to stand up and fight these anti-consumer abuses by corporations, despite the best efforts of the state legislatures to hand them effective weapons to do so.