Twitch’s “ban evasion” flag is a bigger anti-hate tactic than you might think

Enlarge (credit: Twitch)

Twitch, the livestreaming service that largely caters to gamers, has exploded in popularity since being acquired by Amazon in 2014—but toxicity on the platform has also increased. This week, Twitch took an important step toward getting a handle on its applause-like “chat” feature, and it goes beyond the usual dictionary-based approach of flagging inappropriate or abusive language.

The Tuesday rollout of a new “ban evasion” flag came with the kind of fanfare such a feature doesn’t normally get on social media and video platforms. And it puts Twitch in a position to say what many other platforms don’t: the company is not only paying attention to “sockpuppet”-account generation but pledging to squash it.

Spinning up attacks

Pretty much any modern online platform faces the same issue: users can join, view, and comment on content with little more than an email address. If you’d like to say nasty things about Ars Technica across the Internet, for example, you could probably spin up a ton of new accounts on various sites in a matter of minutes. Your veritable anti-Ars minimob mostly requires a series of free email addresses. Should a service require some form of 2FA, you can arguably go to extra lengths to attach spare physical devices or spin up additional phone numbers.

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