Data shows that a one-day Twitch boycott organized by Black, queer and disabled streamers fed up with the platform’s inaction against online harassment led to a noticeable decline in its viewership numbers.
According to The Washington Post, the #ADayOffTwitch movement asked for as many streamers as possible to avoid streaming on Sept. 1 to put pressure on Twitch to do something about hate raids, which is when trolls use bots and fake accounts to flood the chats of marginalized users with hateful messages.
From the Post:
On the day of the event, concurrent Twitch viewership peaked at 3.4 million, around 400,000 less than the same day the previous week. From a pure viewership standpoint, it was Twitch’s second-worst day in a month. The overall number of streamers was also measurably lower, peaking at around 119,000 after four weeks of the platform averaging around 136,000.
For Twitch, this is by no means a crippling blow — on Sept. 2, the platform was back to business as usual — but it demonstrated the sheer scale of Twitch’s problem.
The Verge spoke to organizers of the boycott, who said the movement was less about impacting Twitch’s financials, but more about bringing attention to the vitriol that marginalized streamers face on the platform.
More from The Verge:
ShineyPen, a Filipino, trans streamer, thought more should be done in addition to talking about the problem, so he decided to organize a walkout. “A Day Off [Twitch] is largely about coming together in solidarity. The one day off is a step in the many steps we have to take towards change,” Shiney tells The Verge.
Twitch has previously said that it is working on making the platform safer for its creators by building detection methods for users that try to flout bans and making account improvements, but until those safeguards are in place, it doesn’t look like there’s much more that users can do about the hate raids.
Per The Verge, one key improvement that users would like to see on Twitch is the ability to disable raids or choose individual creator pages to block raids from happening. Both are features on Facebook’s alternative to the market-dominant Twitch, which is attracting Black streamers due to those protections.
More from The Post:
“How do we continue this energy without it being a detriment to the very people who rely on what they get from Twitch?” said Omega “Critical Bard” Jones, a queer Black streamer who faced widespread targeted harassment even before Twitch’s current hate raid problem began.
“How does the movement remain at the forefront and not lose its momentum? I do not have the answer to that question, but I am very curious to see what the leaders of the movement do next.”