On September 1st, many popular Twitch streamers refused to go live in order to protest the troublesome and derogatory hate raids that have been happening on their platform of choice. A raid on Twitch is typically started when a streamer ends their own stream, but brings their viewers to another creator’s stream to show support. Normally, this is a positive way to spread viewership and introduces viewers to new content they might enjoy. Hate raids are the exact opposite, with the intent to target marginalized creators with bots and plenty of real people. Such hate raids are often full of slander, insults, and all sorts of other nasty things.
Of course, these terrible hate raids aren’t exactly Twitch’s fault, but at the same time, it is the responsibility of the service to promote a safe and respectful space for individuals to share their content. Unfortunately, Twitch has not made any intentional effort to do that, taking no action to punish or regulate these hate raids. Not surprisingly, it’s taking a significant toll on the viewership of the platform.
Both immensely popular and small-time streamers banded together to stay offline on September 1st in protest. That may not sound like much, but The Verge states that ‘Twitch had almost one million fewer hours of viewership compared to its norm’. More than fourteen thousand channels protested that day, which is responsible for the significant dip in viewership.
On August 25th, the service had 4,083,518 of hours watched with 189,472 channels that went live. On September 1st, there were 3,456,576 hours watched from the 171,682 channels live. Despite the relatively small fraction of protesting channels, the loss of viewing hours was very significant.
While the protest may have caused a huge dip in viewership, it’s not the sole reason viewership on Twitch has dropped recently. Two major streamers, DrLupo and TimTheTatman, have left Twitch to stream on YouTube Gaming. While it’s unclear if their shift is solely because of the outrage against the hate raids, said shift will nevertheless negatively impact Twitch’s numbers. All of that said, it’s worth noting that an active school year and active students will make an impact on how much time students have available for Twitch overall.
The main goal of the #ADayOffTwitch campaign wasn’t to actually harm Twitch and its numbers but in order to call the Twitch platform to action. The campaign is meant to encourage better policies and safeguards for streamers that will protect their communities from hate raids and similar hostile actions. Twitch has taken to Twitter to express support for the creators who chose to participate in the campaign. The company also stated that they want to have an “open and ongoing dialogue about creator safety.”
Unfortunately, creators and others online are not particularly convinced by this response, seeing as how there has been no change or move by Twitch to actually get anything done. Blessing Adeoye Jr. commented on Twitter that, “They originally acknowledged this August 11th. It is now the end of August and I’ve been hate-raided 3 times in the last week.” With the hashtags #TwitchDoBetter and #ADayOffTwitch there is steady feedback letting Twitch know that creators will not stand for non-action on this matter from what was once an inviting platform.