Twitch is rolling out new rules around harassment and hate

Starting with hateful conduct, Twitch has added three protected identity characteristics to its list — caste, color and immigration status — meaning users will face punishment for attacking someone based on these traits. The remaining protected characteristics are race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, serious medical condition and veteran status.

Additionally, starting on January 22nd, the Confederate flag will be added to Twitch’s list of hate symbols and banned from streams, “given its historic and symbolic association with slavery and white supremacist groups in the US,” the company said. Hate groups and their propaganda are explicitly prohibited this time around, too. Emotes will also be subject to scrutiny under the new policy, even without accompanying text.

In terms of harassment, Twitch added the following specific behaviors to its lineup of offenses: claiming the victim of a well-documented tragedy is a crisis actor; encouraging others to doxx, hack, swat or DDoS someone; and inciting malicious raids of another person’s social media profiles.

Under the new rules, Twitch has made sexual harassment a separate category and “adopted a much lower tolerance for objectifying or harassing behavior.” Specifically, the following actions are prohibited: repeatedly commenting on someone’s attractiveness when they’ve indicated their discomfort verbally or through time-outs and channel bans; making explicit comments about someone’s sexuality or physical appearance, even if they’re a public figure; and sharing unsolicited nude images or videos.

Sex-based insults and objectifying statements about other users or public figures will result in a suspension at the first offense. The fresh rules also ban slut-shaming, to put it simply. “Making derogatory statements about another person’s perceived sexual practices or sexual morality” is not allowed, nor is “making degrading statements about a person’s sexual health.”