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The Results Are In From #ADayOffTwitch

Hate raids, harassment, slurs, and doxing are a disturbingly common reality for marginalized Twitch streamers, including members of the LGBTQIA+ community, individuals with disabilities, and people of color, especially Black streamers (via USA Today). Many shared their stories with the hashtag #ADayOffTwitch on Twitter and participated in a day-long boycott of the platform that has reportedly failed to provide them support. And now, the results from the Wednesday, September 1, 2021 protest are in.

This boycott didn't come out of nowhere. In fact, it's part of a long-standing history of Twitch's alleged failure to take effective action to support its creators and protect them from harm, hate, and danger. These issues led streamer RekItRaven to jumpstart the trending hashtag #TwitchDoBetter back in August. The hashtag brought more attention to the issue of hate raids, prompting Twitch to finally break its silence on the topic on August 11, sharing development plans for channel-level ban evasion detection tools and improved account verification processes.

Many felt Twitch's response to #TwitchDoBetter wasn't enough, hence the continued action from minority streamers and their allies. As you can see from comments on Twitch's August 11 and more recent August 20 Twitter threads, several users felt the company had repeatedly dropped the ball when combating these issues. Because of this, streamers pushed forward with the #ADayOffTwitch boycott, which ended up having a measurable impact and even prompted another reply from the platform.

The impact of a #ADayOffTwitch

Streaming reporter Zach Bussey shared a Twitter thread and detailed article with informative data and contextualization for #ADayOffTwitch. According to Bussey, "#ADayOffTwitch was the second-lowest viewership on Twitch over the last 30-days."

Due to several factors, this decreased viewership is not a simple, straightforward figure. For example, both TimTheTatman and DrLupo just left Twitch for YouTube Gaming, and they typically went live on Wednesdays. Back-to-school season and the fact that Gamescon could have boosted Twitch viewership the week prior to the protest may also factor in. Even considering these variables, there was reportedly a clear impact on viewership. As Bussey wrote, "Depending on how you qualify that data, the impact might have been as low as ~5% or potentially as high as 15%."

Following the #ADayOffTwitch movement's potential success, the platform shared an updated guide for "Combating Targeted Attacks." Though Twitch promised more changes are coming, it did not offer clarity regarding the timeline or specifics. "Malicious actors are agile and highly motivated, and they put a lot of time and energy into evading the safety hurdles that we're constantly building and improving," wrote the company. "We know it's frustrating when we can't share details on upcoming safety tools, but the more information we offer about what we're doing to stop them–particularly before we've launched–the easier it is for them to navigate around them or prepare."

Despite this, protest participants and organizers, including the #ADayOffTwitch hashtag creator ShineyPen, are proud of what they've accomplished and committed to further action (per The Verge). Twitch has yet to escape its shady side, though this event highlights the power streamers have as a collective and the possibility of a better streaming platform. All eyes are on Twitch to see when it will make good on its word, and on the activism of creators who demand better from the streaming giant.