Twitch CEO admits inconsistent bans remain a major problem: ‘We still have work to do’

Published: 2023-06-23T00:39:07

updated: 2023-06-23T00:39:20

Questionable twitch bans with little or no justification have long been a problem on Amazon’s own streaming platform. CEO Dan Clancy himself has just admitted this, but assured that Twitch employees are always working to improve the guidelines and provide more clarity where possible.

Over the years, almost every popular streamer on Twitch has been temporarily banned at some point. In some cases, the punishment was certainly justified. In other cases, however, the content creators are at a loss.

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What exactly led to their ban and what can they do to prevent violations from happening again in the future? Usually only one or two lines of context are provided, giving a high-level overview of the specific violation. This is a particular area that many have grappled with in recent years.

Admittedly, it’s an area where Twitch staff “still have a lot of work to do” to improve the process, CEO Dan Clancy said in a recent interview with Jake Lucky. “I still think we have a long way to go,” he added while discussing the issue of Twitch bans.

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“We’ve done a lot of work over the past three years to achieve greater consistency,” Clancy continued. “Looking back in time, we didn’t have the structure to ensure consistent decisions were made in all cases.

“For example, we now pay a lot more attention to what decisions our operators are going to make, then we go through a quality assurance process to make sure, and then measure consistency.”

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Given the scale of Twitch, with thousands of streamers going live every day, people aren’t able to directly monitor and ban each and every broadcast. That’s where these “operators” come in, automating the first step of the punishment process before personnel manually board the area. It’s these operators that can cause confusion from time to time, Clancy explained.

“You have an operator making a decision. The question is: does this one and this one make the same decision?”

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Twitch bans can vary in severity, some only last 24 hours while others remain in effect indefinitely.

In addition to the operators themselves, Twitch also needs to “work on clarifying our policies,” Clancy added. With clearer guidelines about what’s and isn’t allowed on the streaming platform, content creators would obviously have a better understanding. However, according to Clancy, the current guidelines, while improved in recent years, still leave room for streamers to challenge their bans.

“Our guidelines used to be very general. You would read it and say, “I don’t know.” So the team there did a lot of work on our community guidelines. If you look back at the Wayback Machine and look at Twitch’s Community Guidelines four years ago compared to today, you’ll see that they’re much more specific.”

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“I still think we still have a long way to go. Sometimes when someone streams for a long period of time with absolutely the right intention, it triggers anxiety because they fear they might just stumble. You are allowed to cross a line. This is difficult with live streaming. Things happen.”

Admittedly, with the wide range of categories and ever-changing types of content, it’s difficult to find a “balance,” Clancy said. “I think it’s really hard to get that right.

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“They don’t want to ban people who are trying to do the right things and just make mistakes. I think we’ve gotten a lot better, but I don’t think we’re done.”

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