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Amendment would ban US Army from recruiting on Twitch

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The amendment was introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Illustration featuring the US Govt building, the US flag and the logo for the Twitch streaming platform Illustration: James Bareham/Polygon

A federal ban on military recruitment through the Twitch streaming platform has taken its first forward steps in Congress. After a vote in the House of Representatives, a draft of the ban is now officially a potential amendment of the House Committee on Appropriations bill, part of the process of setting the Pentagon’s budget.

Approval of the amendment draft comes after the U.S. Army’s use of Twitch and Discord as a recruitment tool gained new visibility, with trolls racing to be banned from Army chat channels for asking about war crimes and Twitch itself stepping in to put a stop to recruiters’ use of misleading giveaway links. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposed the draft of an amendment to the House Appropriations bill on July 22.

The language of her draft would ban U.S. military organizations from using funds to “maintain a presence on Twitch.com or any video game, e-sports, or live-streaming platform.”

“War is not a game,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted before the vote, pointing out that the U.S. Marines had already put an end to its presence on Twitch.

Though the draft has been approved as an amendment, there’s still a long road before it becomes law. Further congressional committees in the House must confirm it as an approved amendment, and then the Appropriations bill as a whole will be subject to numerous other rounds of approval. The next hurdle will come when the Appropriations committee meets on July 27 to approve amendments to the bill.

The amendment makes no mention of America’s Army: Proving Grounds. The latest iteration of America’s Army, a first-person shooter developed by the U.S. Army and released in 2002, is still available to play online. Through Steam, it requires a separate end user license agreement (EULA) that acknowledges it is “owned by the government of the United States of America.” It also includes Steam Workshop integration for user-generated content — which immediately becomes property of the U.S. government when submitted.