Twitch Adds Shared Ban Info Feature, Plus Built-In Charity Stream Tool

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This week, Twitch launched two new features, Twitch Charity and Shared Ban Info, inspired by practices and tools developed by its community. They were well received after a year in which Twitch was accused by former employees and streamers of abandoning the community in pursuit of profit.

Twitch Charity, which entered beta on Tuesday, is an in-app fundraising feature that allows streamers to set a goal and enter “charity mode.” This displays a donate button and progress indicator next to a stream, the proceeds of which are donated to a charity chosen by the streamer through PayPal’s donation system, the PayPal Giving Fund. As a result, Twitch isn’t taking a cut.

Charity streams are immensely popular on Twitch, with streamers collectively (and sometimes individually) managing to raise millions for causes such as humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. For years, streamers have had to rely on third-party tools and companies like Tiltify and Softgiving, the latter of which has come under fire for quietly helping mainstream streamers cash in on charity work.

“Why is it better?Simplifying many logistical hassles is a TL answer; Pretty decent DR,” Twitch wrote in a blog post announcing the feature. “For streamers, it makes raising money for important causes easier and more transparent. For viewers, it should make supporting those causes simpler, clearer and more impactful.

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Shared Ban Info, meanwhile, launched on Thursday, allowing streamers to quickly and easily share information about viewers they’ve banned from their channels. Once streamers have entered into a sharing agreement, users who have gotten started in other chats can be automatically restricted (meaning their messages will not be posted to the public chat unless approved by moderators) or flagged for monitoring. This allows larger collectives of streamers to enforce Community Standards not just on their own channels, but on Twitch.

“Rather than making decisions on your behalf, our goal with this tool is to provide you with the information you need to make informed, personalized decisions about who can participate in your community,” Twitch wrote in an FAQ on the feature. “We want to strike a balance between protecting streamers from stalkers while giving streamers control over who is allowed to participate in their communities.”

Previously, streamers could only publicize rowdy repeat offenders in their chats by taking matters into their own hands – a fact acknowledged by Twitch’s own employees.

“As a moderator in communities with split audiences before working here, it’s something we would do manually,” said Twitch Senior Program Manager Rob S. said on Twitter. “I love that we’ve now made it a first-party product.”

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Twitch Charity also received the streamer’s seal of approval in part for its community ties; the project was run by streamer turned Twitch employee named Cassandra who goes by the “Friskk” handle.

These features follow a tumultuous 12 months for Twitch. In March, Bloomberg reported an “exodus” of employees due in part to the company’s drifting away from its community-centric roots in favor of lucrative opportunities — like a proliferation of ads — that often negatively impact streamer experiences. By then, streamers were already furious after the company failed to respond quickly to an outbreak of so-called “hate raids” in 2021, in which malicious viewers used fake accounts and bots. to flood chats with often marginalized streamers. Twitch has since redoubled its focus on trust and safety — and communication around relevant features — the company told The Washington Post in an interview in May. This week’s new features are part of this initiative.

Even so, Twitch recognizes that it faces an uphill battle.

“No tool or technology can completely stop ‘hate raids’, but using a combination of tools like phone-verified chat and followers-only mode has proven extremely effective for many of our streamers” , the company wrote in Shared Ban Info. FAQs. “We believe Shared Ban Info will add an extra layer of protection, particularly against any raids orchestrated by individuals acting in tandem. That said, we encourage you to experiment with this tool and others to find the combination of settings that best suits your needs.

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