The US Army is backing away from Twitch owing to intense criticism of its use of the platform for recruitment (via GamesIndustry.biz).
“Due to recent media coverage of fake giveaways and potentially unconstitutional bans, the U.S. Army esports team has paused social activity, streaming on Twitch, and official activations with Twitch including participating in upcoming Twitch Rivals events,” read the email sent by someone close to the US Army, acquired by Kotaku. The “fake giveaway” was for a contest where the prize was an Xbox Elite Series 2 controller. However, when viewers clicked the link to find out more, it sent them to a recruitment website for the US Army, and didn’t mention the contest or the controller.
Twitch didn’t like this at all, and pulled the promotion because it did not “comply with all applicable laws.” This, combined with criticism for banning viewers who mentioned war crimes in the channel’s chat, has reportedly caused the US Army’s withdrawal from the platform. Furthermore, US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has filed a draft amendment to the House Appropriations bill to stop the US Army from using its funds to “maintain a presence on Twitch.com or any video game, e-sports, or live-streaming platform.”
This move must be approved by the House Appropriations Committee and other committees before it is voted on by the Senate. Yet, it seems that the writing is on the wall for the US Army’s presence on Twitch. It apparently won’t resume activity on the platform until early 2021. Simultaneously, the US Navy is still active on Twitch, and does use it for recruitment. Whether it draws an equal response as the US Army’s activity remains to be seen.
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