Following reports earlier this week, Twitch has officially unveiled a new suite of verification-based tools intended to help combat the increasingly prevalent phenomenon of hate raiding.
Twitch’s controversial raid feature was originally designed to be an easy way for streamers to share audiences by enabling them to redirect all viewers currently watching their broadcast to a target channel. Unfortunately, malicious users quickly began exploiting the feature, setting up dummy accounts and bots to flood the chats of often marginalised streamers and subject them to doxing, harassment, and attack.
Following a successful 24-hour strike by streamers last month in protest of Twitch’s perceived lack of action in tackling the issue, the company said it was “working hard on improved channel-level ban evasion detection and additional account improvements to help make Twitch a safer place for creators.” And now, the first fruits of those labours have been officially unveiled.
As previously reported, these new tools are focussed around phone and email verification, giving streamers more control over their channels by letting them specify exactly who gets chat privileges. “Phone verified chat gives Creators finer control over who can participate in chat, by allowing them to require some or all users to verify a phone number before chatting,” explains Twitch. “Together with updated, more granular email verification settings, Creators will now be able to use email and phone verification in tandem to meet their specific needs.”
The new tools are available from today, accessible via Twitch’s Creator Dashboard, and provide streamers and their mods with a range of verification-based options (disabled by default) for use in restricting access to chat. Phone and/or email verification can, for instance, be required for all accounts, for first-time chatters, chatters with accounts registered within a certain period (pre-specified options range from one hour to six months), and chatters that have followed a channel for less than the specified time – with default options between 10 minutes and three months. VIPs, Subscribers, and Moderators can be set as being exempt from verification requirements.
As for how things will work on the viewer end, Twitch says users will be able to verify up to five accounts per mobile phone number (landlines or VOIP numbers can’t be used for verification purposes) in order to accommodate those that need to manage more than one account. However, to help prevent ban evasion, if one phone-verified account is suspended site-wide, all accounts tied to that number will also be suspended site-wide, and users won’t be able to make new accounts using that number.
A similar system, extended to include email verification, is in play at the channel-level. If one phone- or email-verified account is banned by a channel, all other accounts tied to that phone number or email will also be banned from chatting in that channel.
“No single tech solution will ever block bad actors’ behaviour entirely,” notes Twitch, “but this new hurdle will work within our constantly evolving suite of technologies and tooling, to slow them down considerably and reduce the number of channels they can impact.”
Additional details on Twitch’s new system, including a FAQ covering issues for both streamers and viewers, can be found in its announcement post.