Twitch rules on harassment and hateful conduct

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Hateful Conduct and Harassment [NEW]

Twitch is a space for people to create, join, and participate in communities that share their interests. We want everyone to be able to express themselves on Twitch, but it’s important that this is done in a manner that allows everyone to flourish. Twitch prioritizes minimizing harm to our users over freedom of expression, and we will limit some expression with the goal of preventing, protecting users from, and moderating hateful behavior and harassment.

We support users who express diverse or unpopular points of view, as long as this behavior is not hateful or harassing. When reviewing reported content or activity, we will consider the surrounding context in evaluating whether or not the behavior is a violation of our Community Guidelines.

We do not tolerate hateful or harassing behavior, or conduct that encourages or incites hate or harassment in any way. However, we allow users to discuss content that is hateful or harassing for the purposes of satire or education, as long as this context is clear. Satirical content is acceptable if it uses elements such as irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and critique abusive behaviors. Attempting to promote hateful viewpoints under the guise of education or comedy will lead to suspension of your account.

Across Hateful Conduct and Harassment, the severity of enforcement increases when the behavior is targeted, personal, graphic, or repeated/prolonged, incites further abuse, or involves threats of violence or coercion. The most egregious violations may result in an indefinite suspension on the first offense. The policies listed below apply site-wide, however users may personally implement and enforce more stringent guidelines for their own channels and communities.

Under each category below, please expand the bullet points for a short list of non-comprehensive examples of violative content.

Hateful Conduct 

Twitch aims to be a place where everyone can come together in shared, community experiences. This vision is threatened when people experience harmful rhetoric and abuse on Twitch. Twitch does not permit behavior that is motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance, including behavior that promotes or encourages discrimination, denigration, harassment, or violence based on the following protected characteristics: race, ethnicity, color, caste, national origin, immigration status, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, serious medical condition, and veteran status. We also provide certain protections for age (details on which bullets apply called out below). 

We define ‘protected groups’ as a subset of the population with a shared protected characteristic. Every Twitch user falls into multiple of these protected groups. Twitch affords every user globally equal protections under this policy, regardless of their particular characteristics, and we don’t make exceptions to these standards based on protected characteristics.

Content that is prohibited under our Hateful Conduct policy—regardless of whether it is intended to be hateful—includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Promoting, glorifying, threatening, or advocating violence, physical harm, or death against individual(s) or groups on the basis of a protected characteristic, including age.
  • Using hateful slurs, either untargeted or directed towards another individual. We allow certain words or terms, which might otherwise violate our policy, to be used in an empowering way or as terms of endearment when such intent is clear. We also make exceptions for slurs in music—and singing along to music—as long as the song itself is not hateful and the slurs are not combined with other discriminating or denigrating content. 
  • Posting, uploading, or otherwise sharing hateful images or symbols, including symbols of established hate groups and Nazi-related imagery.
  • Speech, imagery, or emote combinations that dehumanize or perpetuate negative stereotypes and/or memes.
  • Content that expresses inferiority based on a protected characteristic, including, but not limited to, statements related to physical, mental, and moral deficiencies.
  • Calls for subjugation, segregation or exclusion, including political, economic, and social exclusion/segregation, based on a protected characteristic, including age. We do, however, allow discussions on certain topics such as immigration policy, voting rights for non-citizens, and professional sports participation as long as the content is not directly denigrating based on a protected characteristic.
  • Content that encourages or supports the political or economic dominance of any race, ethnicity, or religious group, including support for white supremacist/nationalist ideologies. This does not include support for self-determination movements.
  • Expressions of contempt, hatred, or disgust based on a protected characteristic.
  • Mocking the event/victims or denying the occurrence of well-documented hate crimes, or denying the existence of documented acts of mass murder/genocide against a protected group. 
  • Content that makes unfounded claims assigning blame to a protected group, or that otherwise intends to incite fear about a protected group as it relates to health and safety.
  • Encouraging the use of or generally endorsing sexual orientation conversion therapy.
  • Membership, support, or promotion of a hate group, including sharing hate group propaganda materials.
  • Creating accounts dedicated to hate, such as through abusive usernames.

In addition to the educational and satiric exceptions called out above, exceptions to these standards are made when sharing content from rated movies/TV or developer-generated content in non-prohibited video games in a way that is not directly discriminating or denigrating. 

We do not make our list of slurs public so as not to enable or facilitate evasion of this policy. Further, we take context into account when evaluating whether use of a slur violates our policies.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment makes users feel uncomfortable, unsafe, and deters them from participating in online communities. This abuse can take the form of unwelcome sexual advances and solicitations, sexual objectification, or degrading attacks relating to a person’s perceived sexual practices, regardless of their gender.

The following categories of behaviors are considered to be sexually harassing, and are prohibited on Twitch:

  • Making unsolicited sexual advances towards another person
  • Making unsolicited objectifying statements relating to the sexual body parts or practices of another person
  • Making repeated comments related to another person’s perceived attractiveness after the target makes it clear to you that the behavior is unwanted
  • Making unsolicited statements in reference to performing graphic sexual acts on another person
  • Making derogatory statements about another person’s perceived sexual practices or sexual morality
  • Making degrading statements about a person’s sexual health
  • Attempting to coerce others into providing sexual content or favors through threats, bribes or other inducements
  • Sharing unwanted and unsolicited links to nude or sexually provocative images or videos
  • Sharing or threatening to share private sexually suggestive or explicit content without permission of the person depicted

Sexual harassment is never acceptable on Twitch, regardless of whether these comments are directed towards others on or off our services. When applicable, we will take indications (i.e. timeouts, channel bans, user reports, etc.) from the individual(s) targeted by this behavior into account to help us understand when advances and other statements related to appearance are unwanted, even if they are not clearly derogatory.

Harassment

Harassment deters the growth of vibrant and diverse communities, prevents people from feeling safe on Twitch, and creates a gateway for more severe forms of harm and abuse. People experience harassment in different ways, including personal attacks, promotion of physical harm, and malicious brigading.

The following categories of behaviors are considered to be harassment, and are prohibited on Twitch:

  • Wishing harm or death on others
  • Glorifying, endorsing, or expressing approval of a person’s past or current traumatic events
  • Making implied physical threats to others (Note that explicit threats of violence are handled under our Violence and Threats policy)
  • Targeting others with repeated or severe personal attacks
  • Sharing negative doctored or artistic content to abuse or degrade another person
  • Inciting viewers to target another person with abuse, regardless of whether the targets are on or off-Twitch
  • Making malicious contact towards legitimate businesses or private persons
  • Deliberate, non-consensual in-game stream sniping, including using another person’s stream to gain a competitive advantage in a multiplayer game and disrupt their broadcast
  • Stalking or ignoring another person’s established personal physical boundaries
  • Creating accounts dedicated to harassment or hate, such as through abusive usernames

These prohibited behaviors constitute the foundational standards of interactions on Twitch, and engaging in any of the practices outlined above will result in enforcement action taken against the relevant accounts.

Although harassment is never allowed on Twitch, we want to enable users to express themselves naturally with their friends and communities without fear that these interactions could be misidentified as harassment. In order to fully understand the context of incidents that appear unclear when viewed in isolation, we may require that individuals who feel targeted by abuse indicate that these actions were not consensual banter before we will intervene, for example, through the user reporting feature, or through moderation action on the individual’s channel.

The Line Between Hateful Conduct and Harassment

Harassment becomes hateful conduct when the behavior is targeted at an individual(s) on the basis of protected characteristic(s). As Twitch does not tolerate any abuse that is motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance, the penalty for such behavior is more severe. Instances of Hateful Conduct will always lead to enforcement action, even if the report is submitted by a 3rd-party that wasn’t targeted by this behavior.

Creators Are Responsible for Moderating Hateful Conduct and Harassment in Their Communities

Creators are role models and leaders of the communities they create or foster around them. Creators should consider the consequences of their statements and actions of their audiences; sometimes unwanted focus or attention can encourage others to escalate their behavior into abuse. For example, broadcasting other Twitch streams and profiles while insulting these users often encourages others to also direct abuse to the target. Participating in this activity can, therefore, lead to suspension of your account.

You are expected to use channel moderators and the tools we provide, such as AutoMod, chat timeouts and bans, to mitigate hateful conduct and harassment in your channel. Not using the provided tools to moderate hateful conduct appearing on your channel will lead to a suspension. For harassment, broadcasters who do not make a good faith effort to specifically moderate incitement or organization of abuse in their channels through the tools provided will be suspended.

Twitch should not be used to incite, encourage, promote, facilitate, or organize hateful conduct or harassment, even against targets off the Twitch services, and doing so will result in enforcement action taken against the relevant accounts.

Off-Service Harassment and Hateful Conduct

The Twitch community is also at conventions, TwitchCon, Twitch Community Meetups, and even social media. Our community encompasses all of these spaces and we take them into consideration when it comes to our role in keeping the community safe. We may take action against persons for hateful conduct or harassment that occurs off Twitch services and is directed at Twitch users.

Handling Serious Misconduct

We encourage users to submit reports against harassment or hateful conduct directed towards themselves. If you feel that this abuse rises to a legal claim or to a crime, however, we encourage you to also seek help from an attorney or your local law enforcement. If someone else’s behavior has made you fear for your own safety or that of your immediate family, we encourage you to report this to your local law enforcement immediately. When contacted by law enforcement through the appropriate legal process, Twitch will provide the relevant information, as laid out in our Terms of Service

FAQ

Does reporting a user multiple times or in multiple categories affect the outcome of my report?

No, reporting a user multiple times or having multiple people assist you in reporting a user for the same offense (commonly known as report brigading) will not make any difference to the outcome of your report. Inaccurately reporting multiple times in different categories will also not increase the speed at which your report is handled, or increase the chances of the reported user being suspended. If you’re being harassed on Twitch, it’s much better to submit a single detailed report than a dozen reports without context. All enforcements are issued by human reviewers based on documented violations of our Community Guidelines; the number of reports submitted against a channel has no impact on the likelihood that the channel is suspended. Conversely, submitting large amounts of fictitious reports, or encouraging others to do so, will instead lead to a suspension of your Twitch account.

Am I required to communicate to another user that I feel harassed by their behavior in order for my report to be considered valid?

No, you may decide that some forms of harassment are severe enough to warrant reporting without first communicating to the other user that they are unwanted. You may choose to communicate that this conduct is unwanted, but we strongly recommend that you do so only if you feel that it is safe and appropriate. If the unwanted behavior persists, we recommend you report the user and consider other options to manage the situation such as blocking the user’s account(s) or banning them from chat. For more information on managing abuse directed towards you, see our guide on How to Manage Harassment in Chat

How can I indicate that a behavior is unwanted?

We take context into account when determining whether a violation of our policies has occurred, and this extends to determining whether a behavior against another user is unwanted. You can indicate to others that a behavior is unwanted in several ways, including issuing a channel moderation action (e.g. a timeout, channel ban, or message deletion) against the individual, or otherwise clearly denouncing the behavior. In addition to reports submitted directly by the target of a behavior, Twitch will also take these indications into account when evaluating reports of harassment and sexual harassment.

I enjoy friendly banter and trash talk. How can I make it clear that I don’t intend to harass anyone?

Be cognizant of others—some people only recognize or enjoy banter when they have an established relationship with the other person. If someone asks you to stop or indicates that your conduct is unwanted, such as through a channel timeout, continuing to target them after that point will be seen as a deliberate attempt to harass. If a discussion becomes heated and goes beyond friendly banter, consider removing yourself from the conversation to prevent the situation from escalating further. Additionally, some topics are generally not viewed as acceptable banter by the community, such as sending sexual solicitations or encouraging others to harm themselves. You should not engage in these behaviors, and doing so will jeopardize your Twitch account. 

Can I be suspended for sexually suggestive conversations even if I do not intend to harass anyone?

Our guidelines on sexual harassment do not apply in conversations where there is clear mutual consent. However, even if both parties clearly have an established relationship, we will issue an enforcement if we obtain any indication from the target that sexually harassing statements made on Twitch are unwanted, or if mutual consent is not explicitly clear. A person’s physical appearance or attire is not an indication of solicitation or consent. Additionally, please note that sexual commentary that is graphic or extended, even if not in violation of our sexual harassment policy, is still subject to our sexually suggestive content policy.

Can I be suspended for hateful or harassing content that viewers put on my stream?

You are responsible for ensuring that content that appears on your stream abides by our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines. If harassing or hateful content does appear on your stream, we expect that you take the necessary steps to mitigate this behavior and ensure that it does not occur again. We will not suspend broadcasters that we find to be acting in good-faith to remove abuse appearing from third parties and external sources, such as by using AutoMod, timeouts, and channel bans. Conversely, we encourage you to report users who attempt to put hateful or harassing content on your channel, as this will lead to a suspension of their Twitch account(s).

What should I put in a report to help Twitch understand my harassment-related issue?

In general, the more information you include, the better we’ll be able to understand the context around the issue you’re trying to report. Descriptions of the harmful behavior, when it occurred, and links to any relevant content are the most common ways to ensure we can handle your report quickly and effectively. See our guide on Reporting Best Practices for more information.