Press Release

Twitch Dismisses Safety Advisory Council Members

Twitch will fire every member of its Safety Advisory Council today, according to CNBC.

TakeAway Points:

  • Twitch, a resource consisting of industry experts, streamers, and moderators who offer advice on matters of trust and safety, will terminate the contracts of all of its members on Friday.
  • According to an official business webpage, the council has given Twitch advice on “drafting new regulations and policy revisions,” “creating products and services to promote safety and moderation,” and “supporting the rights of marginalised groups.”
  • An email informing council members that all current contracts will expire on May 31, 2024, and that they would not be compensated for the second half of that year prompted them to organise a meeting for May 6.

Twitch Mass Dismissal

Nine streamers, industry professionals, and moderators who have consulted on topics including nudity, banned users, and trust and safety issues pertaining to minors on Twitch make up the council.

In order to “improve Twitch’s approach to issues of trust and safety” on the platform and inform decisions, the game-streaming firm owned by Amazon established its Safety Advisory Council in May 2020. As stated on its webpage, the council gave Twitch advice on “drafting new policies and policy changes,” “creating products and services to increase safety and moderation,” and “supporting the interests of marginalised groups.”

The group provided the corporation with advice on nudity policies and “hate raids” on marginalised groups for four years.

However, on May 6, in the afternoon, council members were summoned to a meeting upon receipt of an email informing them that their contracts would end on May 31, 2024, and that they would not be paid for the second half of that year.

Advisors, such as Emma Llansó, director of the Centre for Democracy and Technology’s Free Expression Project, Dr. Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Centre, and Dr. T.L. Taylor, co-founder and director of AnyKey, which promotes diversity and inclusivity in gaming, comprised the council instead of Twitch staff.

“Looking ahead, the Safety Advisory Council will primarily be made up of individuals who serve as Twitch Ambassadors,” the email stated.

The Dismissal Notice

In a formal notice in the same email, the company wrote, “Pursuant to section 5(a) of the SAC advisor Agreement, we are writing to provide you with notice of termination… This means that the second 2024 payment won’t be issued.”

Twitch Ambassadors are users of the streaming platform “chosen specifically because of the positive impact they’ve contributed to the Twitch community,” according to the company’s website.

Council members received compensation ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 every 12-month term, depending on the length of their contracts, according to a source with knowledge of the agreements.

In the midst of almost a year of budget cuts and layoffs throughout the digital sector, particularly on safety and ethics teams—which some businesses see as cost centers—Twitch has decided to terminate the SAC’s contracts. The changes coincide with an increase in cyberbullying, which has been connected to greater rates of teenage self-harm, as well as an explosive rise in the usage of artificial intelligence and the dissemination of false information and violent content.

According to the report, Twitch fired roughly fifty workers a year ago who were in charge of keeping an eye on abusive, unlawful, or damaging behaviour. Just when content moderation seemed to be more crucial than ever, the trust and safety team, or T&S as it is known internally, lost almost 15% of its workforce.

A Twitch representative claimed the business had added “new council members to bring fresh, varied perspectives” in an email to CNBC. Additionally, the representative stated that “with this new format, we will be able to pull in even more voices and opinions.” The company already has over 180 streamers in its ambassador programme.

When asked if the ambassadors will receive compensation, Twitch remained silent.

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