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Study Finds Nearly Half of Daily Users Experience Hate on Twitch

Nearly half of all daily users encountered hate or harassment on the video game streaming service Twitch last year, according to a new study from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

About 37% of Americans experienced severe hate and harassment online in 2018, including sexual harassment, stalking, and physical threats, the study found. Out of all of the respondents, 56% said they encountered some of their harassment on Facebook, 19% experienced it on Twitter, while 17% were on YouTube. When limited to daily users of a platform, the ADL said nearly half (47%) reported experiencing harassment on Twitch, followed by Reddit (38%), Facebook (37%), and Discord (36%).

“It’s deeply disturbing to see how prevalent online hate is, and how it affects so many Americans,” said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt. “Cyberhate is not limited to what’s solely behind a screen; it can have grave effects on the quality of everyday lives — both online and offline. People are experiencing hate and harassment online every day and some are even changing their habits to avoid contact with their harassers.”

Twitch updated its community guidelines last year in an attempt to curb harassment and hate on its platform. Any conduct it deems hateful will result in an immediate indefinite suspension. “Hate simply has no place in the Twitch community,” it said. It also now considers verifiable harassment that takes place outside of Twitch when making decisions for actions that occur on Twitch, which means people who use other services to direct harassment toward Twitch users are in violation of its policies.

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Musician Deadmau5 ran afoul of Twitch’s new policies this week after allegedly using a homophobic slur while streaming “PUBG,” according to Kotaku. Deadmau5 reportedly encountered a stream sniper during a match and, in a now-deleted video clip, called them a “f***ing c**k-sucking stream sniper f**.” Then, when Twitch issued a suspension, the DJ deleted his channel and said he was canceling all partnerships and associations with the platform.

Variety contacted Twitch to ask what it thinks about the study’s findings. A spokesperson provided the following statement:

“Twitch is a community of diverse thinkers and creators, and we want it to be a place where that diversity and creativity continues to thrive. We’re committed to creating a safer and more positive experience for everyone on Twitch. We’re investing a lot this year in our teams as well as in better tools, policies and practices, and communication so everyone in the community understands the standards of participating and has the tools to customize their experience.”

Over 80% of Americans want policymakers to strengthen laws and improve training and resources for police to combat cyberhate, the ADL said. About 84% said they want to see private technology companies take more decisive action as well.

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