It looks like Twitch is set to introduce new chat options for streamers in an attempt to squash the recent rise in hate raids.
According to screenshots from Zach Bussey, a journalist specialising in streamers, and streamer DraconTV (opens in new tab), creators will soon be able to toggle what level of verification users need to chat in their streams (thanks, Kotaku (opens in new tab)). Currently, there's one option for email verification, but the new settings will allow streamers to require either email or mobile verification.
These options can also be customised, being able to either do a blanket verification for every chatter or adjust verification requirements based on account age, how long they've been following the streamer or if it's their first time chatting on somebody's stream. Exemptions can also be made for subscribers, VIPs and moderators.
Twitch will soon be giving streamers better control over who can chat in their channels based on email and/or phone verification. Lots of customization and situational restrictions.Exemptions can be provided for Subscribers, VIPs, and Mods. #TwitchNews pic.twitter.com/sHXmVJNRipSeptember 26, 2021
The potential changes come in the wake of the recent spike in hate raids (opens in new tab), organised attacks mostly focused on minority streamers. Bots flood streamers' chats, spewing racial, sexist or other slurs and obscenities. While chat filters can negate it somewhat, it's still an incredibly easy tool for these bots to circumvent (opens in new tab).
The hate raids and an initially slow response from the platform spawned the #ADayOffTwitch protest (opens in new tab), which saw numerous creators abstain from streaming on September 1. Thanks to combined efforts from smaller streamers and household names like HasanAbi and Kaceytron, Twitch saw a significant drop in viewership (opens in new tab) that day. The platform later went ahead and file a lawsuit against two "highly motivated" perpetrators (opens in new tab) of hate raids, believed to be European users known as CruzzControl and CreatineOverdose.
Mobile verification was a major suggestion amongst streamers and reports (opens in new tab) during the peak of these raids, and it's come as a pleasant surprise to many that the platform is possibly making steps to implement it. Streamers like Limmy called the potential changes "very very good, (opens in new tab)" with Cohh Carnage calling them "solid options for having more control over our chats."
This is really, really good.Solid options for having more control over our chats. Would have been nice to have these in place a few months ago but hey, better late than never. 👍 https://t.co/AqHZqq1QNGSeptember 27, 2021
It doesn't mean the new solutions will be perfect, however. Phone verification can draw a tricky line between security for streamers and privacy for users, and is a detail some don't like giving out online. Others, like Michele Boyd (opens in new tab), feel that Twitch is still putting the onus on streamers to lock themselves down from abuse.
The biggest sentiment does seem to be that it's still a step in the right direction, though. Anything that creates a safer, more comfortable environment for streamers and their chat can only be a good thing. While it's not a perfect solution, it shows that Twitch is at least trying to get it right—hopefully, it works.