On a regular day, Spanish streamer Otzdarva picks up his clothes, sets up his lights and camera and rushes to finish extra content for his YouTube channel. Then, he sits down and streams the multiplayer horror game Dead By Daylight to his passionate fanbase.
However, Otzdarva’s plan differs on September 1, 2021. Instead of streaming on Twitch, he is one of many streamers who are putting all their focus on their other platforms. They are taking part in the #ADayOffTwitch protest after seeing colleagues and fellow streamers go through “hate raids” or targeted harassment with spam accounts.
“These issues could have been fixed before, proactively,” Otzdarva said. “Every time, for example, my mod bans someone for a racial slur, a new one appears and gets added to the ban list. Seeing that people will just continue to circumvent this, it’s frustrating as a streamer.”
#ADayOffTwitch is trending
The protest is a response to Twitch’s laissez-faire attitude toward these raids. The most that the platform has done is let streamers know that “they are heard.” Meanwhile, Otzdarva and others declined to share their full names for fear of further harassment.
While spamming messages are common in the chat boxes of more popular streamers, these raids are far more malicious. Bot accounts have repeatedly overloaded streamer’s chats with racist, misogynistic and hateful messages. Streamers, moderators and viewers have repeatedly called for Twitch to take action but, so far, nothing has been done.
These messages are rapidly sent from so many accounts that mods and most automated programs can’t stop them. These raids have been happening to multiple streamers every day — sometimes with targeted messaging at a specific personality.
Hey, you! Yeah, YOU! Have you seen a lot of tweets about hate raids on @Twitch but are too afraid to ask what exactly they are? Do you know people who STILL don't get it? I GOTCHU: watch these two videos to learn more about hate raids, and why we need #TwitchDoBetter. 1/ pic.twitter.com/V72CVDOs6y
— karen – #BlackLivesMatter now more than ever (@thesistakaren) August 27, 2021
It makes it even worse that the target of many of these raids are members of the LGBTQIA+ community or people of color. Twitch has already shown how slow they can be in responding to issues within those communities. For example, it took them years to add a trans tag on the platform.
This leaves many creators feeling as though they have no choice but to make a stand with the protest hashtag #ADayOffTwitch.
“I am spending as much time with my family as possible,” RekItRaven said. “I’ll be catching up on some gaming with my friends and getting through some more interviews.”
Creating a virtual picket line
Despite having to take time off from their main source of income, both RekItRaven and Otzdarva agreed that the problem is not an impossible one to fix.
“We are not asking for something that is complex or financially difficult for Twitch to fix,” Otzdarva said. “Some of these requests are common sense, such as stopping people from making unlimited accounts for one email.”
Having multiple email accounts made for raids like this can lead to lots of bots hurting streamers at once. The picture that was shared with the protest hashtag #ADayOffTwitch listed that issue alongside other recommendations for what Twitch can do. Those demands include:
- a roundtable discussion with creators who have been affected and creating ideas to fix it
- being transparent on when and how these issues will be addressed.
There is an immediate announcement I need to make. In light of the wave of hate raids targeting marginalized streamers, @RekItRaven @ShineyPen and @LuciaEverblack Are planning #ADayOffTwitch on 9/1/21 I have started my weeklong blackout today because I dont stream wednesdays. pic.twitter.com/gPEdTfTByu
— #ADayOffTwitch SaFireSunSet 🏳️⚧️ (@SaFireSunSet1) August 30, 2021
Several streamers are supporting the #ADayOffTwitch protest, from people who haven’t been affected by these hate raids personally, like Otzdarva, to those who have unfortunately faced it themselves.
“Embed yourself with these creators, give them the credit they deserve,” streamer and software developer Lucia Everblack said. “They need to be offered a seat at the table so they can speak on these issues and get this fixed.”
The reality here is that Twitch isn’t fixing issues like this fast enough. Streamers have faced harassment for too long, and the platform should provide healthy and safe experiences for marginalized streamers just trying to have fun.
“They should be amplifying the voices that are talking about this, and also more people need to listen,” Everblack said. “There aren’t enough people listening to what people are saying about these issues.”