Sep 2, 2021 - Technology

Twitch engagement drops after users protest company's handling of hate

Data: Gamesight Analytics; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

The number of people watching and streaming on Twitch was down significantly yesterday, the day of a user protest over the platform’s failure to effectively deal with hate speech.

Why it matters: The drop-off in usage proved the concerns resonated with a lot of Twitch users, even if the decline wasn’t big enough to have a major economic impact on the Amazon-owned company.

  • Twitch acknowledged last month that its efforts to stop hateful users from swarming the streams of marginalized streamers were inadequate.
  • It has promised improvements, including better ways to detect users who try to evade bans.

By the numbers:

  • Around 172,000 channels were streaming at noon PT yesterday, down from 186,000 a week prior, according to tracking firm Gamesight.
  • Total hours of content viewed on Twitch for the day were also down by about a million from the prior week.
  • Twitch expert Zach Bussey ruled out attributing the full decline to non-protest factors, such as the start of the school year and the defection of some top Twitch streamers to YouTube.

What they’re saying: Steamer RekItRaven, who publicized the harassment she faced as a streamer last month, called yesterday’s events “cathartic.”

  • “Maybe I’m a dreamer,” she told Wired. “I think we need to normalize being able to really make change on our own.”
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