New Twitch Harassment and Hate Speech Policy Faces Backlash over banning of the Term ‘Simp’

If you have spent any amount of time on the internet, especially in gaming circles, you have no doubt come across the term “simp”. The term refers to a person, typically a male, that worships another, typically a female, person unduly and to extremes in hopes of gaining their attention or favor. An example of a simp would be a viewer that donates his food money to a streamer because they hope that that will make the streamer appreciate them and see them as someone special. The term simp, as most terms that start out as insults do within the gaming community, has turned into a in-joke that people use in friendly jest and banter with each other just as much as people use it to be insulting.

Twitch has decided that the context of the use of terms doesn’t matter, and in their new hateful conduct and harassment policy has added simp to their list of banned words. This means that the use of the term simp in any context can be considered a violation of policy and the channels involved will be subject to punishments including being banned from the platform.

Today in a Twtch Town Hall stream Twitch COO Sara Clemens reiterated that any terms that “refer negatively to a person’s sexuality” are considered insults and not allowed on the platform under the new policy. Clemens also explained that this rule also retroactively extends to channel’s twitch emotes, and that any emotes containing terms such as simp will be deleted.

The community has generally responded that this new hateful conduct policy is overkill noting that simp has been used mostly in friendly joking contexts in many streams. They also note that with the platform’s long history of giving bigger streamers a pass on violating Twitch terms while at the same time punishing channels that are smaller or unpopular with the Twitch staff more harshly. It is very likely that this trend will continue with the new policy and smaller unpopular streamers will be punished disproportionately compared to the large streamers.

The creation of this new policy and its specific inclusion of the term simp is most likely a response to the controversy that hit Twitch Spokesperson Pokimane over the summer regarding the extremes that her fans go to to ‘support’ the popular streamer. Pokimane’s negative response to this criticism created a firestorm as she abused DMCA and rallied her fans to attack the sponsors of YouTuber that made the criticisms. Ironically proving the initial point of the criticism. Twitch likely put this policy into place to tamp down those criticisms that pop up regarding their biggest streaming personalities.

In the end this new policy provides another venue for Twitch staff to see to the removal of undesirable channels from the platform. Twitch will have no reason to respond to the community concerns because they hold a strong monopoly in streaming, with YouTube being the only somewhat viable competitor. The decisions on who gets banned over using the term simp and who doesn’t will come down to the same non-trasparent and personally-motivated methods that let popular and well-connected streamers get away with abusing animals, using racial slurs, and glorifying violent attacks that killed thousands.

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