A number of Twitch channels will remain offline today as streamers participate in “#ADayOffTwitch,” a walkout designed to protest the recent rise in hate and harassment on the platform, and Twitch’s response to it.
The walkout is being led by Twitch streamers RekitRaven, ShineyPen, and Lucia Everblack, and it’s a response to the recent uptick in hate raids — in which malicious viewers use the platform’s “raid” function to flood a creator’s chat with hateful and vile messages using dummy accounts, also known as bots.
Prior to the planned walkout, RekitRaven created the “#TwitchDoBetter” hashtag on social media to share their experiences with hate and harassment on the Amazon-owned livestream platform. Thousands of creators used the #TwitchDoBetter hashtag, which opened up a wider conversation about longstanding issues creators face with hate and harassment on Twitch. Creators are now taking a further step by encouraging other streamers and viewers to take a day off the platform.
A spokesperson from Twitch told Polygon in an email that the company supports streamers’ rights to express themselves and bring attention to important issues on the platform. “No one should have to experience malicious and hateful attacks based on who they are or what they stand for,” Twitch said in a statement. In observance of the boycott, the company has pushed back the launch of “Subtember,” a platform-wide event where viewers get discounts off of monthly subs, to Sept. 2.
Not everyone is taking part in the walkout, though. A few creators have shared concerns that stepping away from Twitch would be giving harassers what they want. However, as Everblack pointed out in a series of tweets, many of these creators have been “loud” and have not diminished their voices on the platform.
“Staying on Twitch and being loud about it is what we have been doing for years,” Everblack said. “Hate raids have been something we have talked about, especially in the trans community where we deal with them on a daily basis. ‘You’ll never be a woman,’ ‘40%,’ etc. Sure we could organize online but it would be the same thing we’ve been doing for years.
“The idea behind this is to try something different, to make waves in a much different way, and that requires a shift in our presence. Sometimes the absence of voices can speak louder than constant yelling. People notice when you are gone because it feels a little less colorful.”
Hate and harassment is nothing new on Twitch. The platform took steps to update its Hateful Conduct and Harassment guidelines and banned racist emotes in 2020. However, the steps the company has taken in the past haven’t been enough to protect many creators, especially those of marginalized backgrounds. In January, an event that Twitch intended to celebrate the diversity of its creators backfired when it ended up directing even more harassment their way.
In addition to the walkout, #ADayOffTwitch organizers have outlined a list of demands from Twitch as a platform. Among them is a call for Twitch to host a roundtable discussion with affected creators and to assist with the implementation of additional tools to combat abuse on the platform. You can view the entire list below.
As for what creators will be doing in lieu of the streaming, it looks like at least a few are looking forward to taking some time to themselves. Today, RekitRaven posted on their Twitter account saying that they plan to spend the day with family. They said, “This is not the end. But fuck, I am going to enjoy today.”