After being called out, the US Army is taking a break from streaming on Twitch
It’s going to be interesting to see how this plays out.
After the US Army came under scrutiny for a giveaway that might not have actually been a giveaway, the organization is now stepping away from streaming on the platform over unrelated issues.
The news first broke from esports reporter Rod “Slasher” Breslau, noting that, “Due to recent media coverage of fake giveaways and potentially unconstitutional bans, the US Army esports team has paused social activity, streaming on Twitch, and official activations with Twitch including participating in upcoming Twitch Rivals events.”
So, what does that mean exactly? Well, if you haven’t been on Twitch or Twitter, you might not be familiar with some of the things going on over on the video game streaming platform. To break it down, it recently became a trend to hop into US Army video game streams and ask the streamers about war crimes. It became such an issue, that military streamers were insta-banning people that mentioned the words “war crimes.”
There’s an interesting conversation here. While streamers can ban people for any reason they see fit, government organizations must uphold a different standard, at least according to civil rights lawyers. Essentially, they argue that Twitch is an open forum for debate and that these streamers must uphold free speech rights in accordance with the First Amendment.
On the other end, the US Army is stating that the accusations should be considered harassment and that it goes against Twitch policies regarding chat and harassment. In a statement to The New York Times, an Army spokesperson notes, “The eSports Team blocked the term ‘war crimes’ in its Twitch channel after discovering the trend was meant to troll and harass the team.”
There is no word yet on when and if the US Army plans on restarting its Twitch stream, but this is far from over. This week, US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke on the subject, saying she had plans to file an amendment to H.R. 7617, which would prevent branches of the military from using funds to “maintain a presence on Twitch or any video game, esports, or live-streaming platform.”
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