Following a year that saw it struggle to shield its users from abuse and harassment, Twitch has of its 2021 safety efforts that includes a look forward to how the company plans to tackle the issue in 2022. Specifically, Angela Hession, Twitch’s vice president of global trust and safety, says the company will update its user reporting and appeals process.
It also plans to upgrade its feature. The AI tool, which the company launched at the end of last year, automatically flags individuals it believes may be repeat ban dodgers. In 2022, Twitch has updates planned around how streamers can use information from that tool. As the company has indicated previously, it also plans to update its sexual content policy to clarify various aspects of it. Twitch simultaneously intends to share more and “better” educational content across its safety center and other areas.
Twitch spent much of the latter half of 2021 trying to stop automated "hate raid" harassment campaigns. The attacks saw malicious individuals use thousands of bots to spam channels with hateful language, and they frequently targeted streamers from marginalized communities. In September, the company sued CruzzControl and CreatineOverdose, two of the more prolific individuals involved in those campaigns.
"We’ll likely never be able to eliminate [hate raids] entirely," Hession said. However, she claims Twitch "significantly" cut down on the number of bots on its platform through some of its actions in 2021. In 2022, it looks to continue that work through the improvements it announced today.
If the company’s safety roadmap feels light on details, Hession says that’s out of necessity. “The honest and unfortunate reality is that we can't always be specific because bad actors can and have used that transparency to attempt to thwart our efforts,” she said.
At the same time, the executive acknowledged Twitch needs to do a better job of communicating what it’s doing to make people feel safe on its platform. It’s easy to see why the company would say that. When it felt like the hate raids that were occurring on Twitch couldn’t get any worse, many creators banded together to the lack of action they saw from the company.