Twitch temporarily suspends Trump account over ‘hateful conduct’

Twitch, the livestreaming service owned by Amazon, on Monday temporarily suspended President Trump’s account for violating the company’s policy on “hateful conduct,” a company spokesperson told The Hill.  

The company said the decision stemmed from comments made on streams shared by an account associated with the Trump campaign. One stream was a rebroadcast of 2015 remarks from Trump during which he referred to Mexicans as “rapists.” Twitch also flagged a stream that included comments Trump made during his a recent campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla. 

In that stream, Trump had asked the crowd to imagine a “very tough hombre” breaking into someone’s home.

“Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch,” a Twitch spokesperson said. “In line with our policies, President Trump’s channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed.”

The spokesperson said that “politicians on Twitch must adhere to our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines” and noted the company conveyed this message to the president’s team when he joined the service last year. 

“To hear directly from the President, people should download the Trump app and text ‘Trump’ to 88022,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh told The Hill when asked for comment about the Twitch suspension.

Twitch’s community guidelines define hateful conduct as any content that promotes, encourages or facilitates discrimination, harassment or violence based on race, ethnicity or gender, among other things. The platform said last week that it was creating more tools “to combat harassment and hate” after some Twitch streamers came forward with allegations of sexual abuse and harassment. Twitch said it was also reviewing its Hateful Conduct and Harassment policies.

The move by the livestreaming platform comes as social media companies face escalating pressure to rein in incendiary speech and misinformation on their sites, including from politicians. Twitter added fact-check and warning labels to posts from the president for the first time last month. 

The company placed a warning on a Trump tweet in which he referred to protestors as “thugs” and said “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter said that it added the warning because the content violated the platform’s rules against glorifying violence.

Facebook left an identical post from the president up on its platform, sparking outrage from civil rights groups and some employees within the company. A campaign calling for corporations to boycott advertising on Facebook over its content moderation polices has since gained support from more than 100 companies, including Starbucks, Verizon and Coca-Cola. 

As the ad boycott gained momentum, Facebook announced on Friday that it would start labeling posts deemed “newsworthy” that violate company policies. The company up until then had exempted public officials from fact-checking entirely. 

The Trump campaign joined Twitch, which primarily focuses on video game livestreaming, in October. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are also among the politicians that have an account.  

–This report was updated at 3:05 p.m.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Donald Trump Facebook Live streaming Social media Twitch twitch Twitter

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