Executive Summary on Twitch
Twitch is a streaming platform that was founded in 2005 and was originally called Justin.tv. Through the years it has evolved to a streaming platform where streamers and viewers can communicate with each other and bond simply through a live chat while the streamer is streaming. One can credit the growth of E-Sports (electronic sports) to Twitch. By the year 2012, the site grew to 20 million visitors per month and in 2014, Amazon and Google tried to buy the company and was eventually bought by Amazon for 970 million dollars. Twitch relates to issues of freedom and control because of the policies that the platform enforces for its users. Twitch streamers have a lot of freedom to essentially stream and put out to the world whatever content they want. Twitch does not condemn a streamer for using swear words, drinking on stream if you are of age, and smoking marijuana if you are in a legal state and of age. The main things that a streamer is not allowed to stream is sexually explicit content, commit hate speech, and say a threat to harm others or yourself. As a user who just watches a stream there is not much that you can do on the platform other than watch a stream and then comment in the live chat on that stream. This means that the only thing twitch limits a watcher on doing is that one cannot verbally harass others. Twitch’s policy states, “We don’t tolerate conduct that encourages or condones hate or harassment in any way.” This means anyone that commits their definition of hate or harassment can get a temporary or permanent ban depending on the severity of the act on the user. Twitch is a free platform to use so the streamers and the users who just watch have overall very good experiences using the platform. Twitch streamers usually stream video games but a streamer on the platform can essentially stream anything they want including cooking shows, sporting events, podcasts, and live virtual concerts. The users are not limited at all when it comes to the topic of what they want to watch, they can just search a topic and watch or just click on the most popular streams at the time on the twitch homepage. The effects of the twitch rules and preferences on both watchers and streamers are almost like living in the real world, except virtual. What this means is that twitch has policies that are also laws in the real world. There are no consequences for a user if they just cooperate with the rules of the platform, this goes for the real world too, if someone just cooperates with the laws then there will be no consequences and they can live a happy life. Unfortunately, the platform has been used in non-normative ways such as “swatting.” Swatting is when a viewer calls the authorities on a streamer and tells them that they are in distress, causing a threat, etc. What this has done in the past is it has sent armed SWAT members to the streamer’s house and assess the situation. This scares the streamer and is completely uncalled for by the viewer. Here is a link to a site my classmates and I made on Twitch as a whole.