LOS ANGELES: Twitch has joined the widening movement to deplatform Donald Trump from Internet services, following the rioting and violence by a pro-Trump horde on Jan 6 in Washington, D.C.
Trump launched an account on Twitch, the game-centered livestreaming platform owned by Amazon, in the fall of 2019 as part of expanding his reelection campaign messaging.
In a statement Jan 7, a Twitch rep said, “In light of yesterday’s shocking attack on the Capitol, we have disabled President Trump’s Twitch channel. Given the current extraordinary circumstances and the President’s incendiary rhetoric, we believe this is a necessary step to protect our community and prevent Twitch from being used to incite further violence.” Trump’s Twitch account will be disabled at least through the end of his presidential term this month.
Twitch joins Facebook, Snapchat and Shopify in issuing indefinite bans on Trump’s use of their platforms. Twitter, the president’s biggest social platform, said it suspended the @realDonaldTrump for a 12-hour period following the removal of three tweets that represented “repeated and severe” violations of its policies, including posting a video praising the insurrectionist mob that stormed into the US Capitol.
Last June, Twitch temporarily suspended Trump, citing violations of its policy against hateful conduct. Those were from Trump’s 2015 announcement that he was running for president, which was rebroadcast on Twitch, in which he called Mexicans “rapists” and drug dealers, and from the June 2020 rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in which he spoke about “a very tough hombre... breaking into the window of a young woman whose husband is away as a traveling salesman or whatever he may do”.
Trump’s first Twitch broadcast in October 2019 was from a rally in Minneapolis, where among other targets he attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Somali refugees, Bruce Springsteen, Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
Separately, Twitch on Wednesday said it was removing the PogChamp emote from the service following tweets by Ryan “Gootecks” Gutierrez, the individual who is depicted on the emote, “encouraging further violence after what took place in the Capitol today”.
“We want the sentiment and use of Pog to live on – its meaning is much bigger than the person depicted or image itself – and it has a big place in Twitch culture. However, we can’t in good conscience continue to enable use of the image,” Twitch said, adding, “We will work with the community to design a new emote for the most hype moments on Twitch.” – Variety/Reuters