Twitch Adds Verified Phone Chat, Expands Email Authentication Settings As Users Face ‘Hate Raids’ – TechCrunch

Twitch announced today that it will add new channel-level security features to help combat harassment on the platform. Now creators and moderators can enable verified chat, which requires chatters to verify their phone and / or email before they can send messages. These settings can be toggled to enable verified chat for all accounts, new chats, those who have not reached a certain account age, or those who have not followed the streamer for a chosen length of time. These settings will be disabled by default until the channel engages, and there are also settings to ensure VIPs, subscribers, and moderators can bypass verification. Unlike two-factor authentication, a user only needs to verify their phone or email once before being considered verified across all channels.

Twitch users can link up to five accounts to the same phone number, but if any of them are banned from a channel, all verified accounts with that phone number or email address will also be banned. The intention is to prevent people from creating multiple hate accounts under a single phone number or email, so the streamer only has to block someone once, rather than five times. At the site level, if an account verified by phone is suspended, the linked accounts will also be suspended. While it’s possible to just use another phone number, like a Google Voice account, it adds an extra layer of difficulty for bad actors.

Tensions are high in the Twitch community as underrepresented creators, especially those who are black or LGTBQ +, face targeted harassment through Twitch’s raid system. Sometimes, when a streamer goes offline, he surprises another streamer by sending his fans to discover his channel on a “raid”. This feature is designed to help established streamers support newcomers. But over the past few months, bad actors have used the raid feature to send bots spewing harassment targeted at creators during their broadcasts. However, Twitch told TechCrunch that most of these mass targeted attacks aren’t actually facilitated by the raiding tool, and the platform views the wording as abuse of colloquial language.

In May, Twitch launched 350 new channel tags related to gender, sexual orientation, race, and ability, which users asked to discover from more representative creators. But some people armed tags to target marginalized streamers, and Twitch didn’t have comprehensive enough tools to tackle this harassment – some creators even developed their own in-house security tools, like a “panic button” that launches a series of chat commands. These streamers prompted Twitch to take action with the hashtag #TwitchDoBetter. Then, earlier this month, streamers like LuciaEverblack, ShineyPen and RekItRaven (who launched the tag) launched #ADayOffTwitch, a one-day boycott of the site.

The #ADayOffTwitch action came with requests.

The #ADayOffTwitch action came with requests. Participating streamers wanted the ability to control incoming raids and asked Twitch to implement age restrictions, email sign-up limits, and share a deadline for implementing full tools. anti-harassment. Soon after, the platform took legal action against two users linked to thousands of bot accounts used for hate raids.

Today’s announcement helps address one of those requests, but in an email to TechCrunch, Twitch said it was developing, testing and refining the verified chat over the phone long before the hate raids. do become so frequent. Still, feedback from UserVoice’s community and its Discord Ambassadors also helped inspire these additions, and Twitch said in a blog post that it will soon be rolling out other ban evasion tools at the level of the community. chain. He also noted that streamers already have the option to only accept Friend, Teammate, and Tracked Channel raids. The service hasn’t made public its timeline for rolling out security features, perhaps because it can give bad actors more information about what Twitch is planning and how to escape it.

Creators can access these new settings by going to Dashboard → Settings → Moderation. Moderators can do this through “Manage moderation settings” in the chat.

Update 9/28/21, 8:30 p.m. EST with additional Twitch commentary on Hate Raids

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About Laura J. Bell

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