Twitch Calls Child Predation Report About Its Platform 'Deeply Upsetting'
A new report suggests that Twitch has seen hundreds of potential cases of child predation, which an executive for the company calls "deeply upsetting".
According to new research from Bloomberg, the popular online streaming platform saw child predators seemingly targeting 279,016 children between October 2020 and August 2022, using the platform to identify young streamers.
According to the research, a total of 1,976 users were found to be systematically following young streamers during this time. The report counted hundreds of predatory accounts that each followed more than 1,000 children. Bloomberg says the "unusual patterns of behavior seen in these accounts indicate that many exist primarily to catalog, watch and manipulate children."
“Even one single instance of grooming is abhorrent to us,” said Twitch’s chief product officer, Tom Verrilli in response to the report. “If it’s valid, the data you reference demonstrates that we are not offering the level of protection we strive for yet — which is deeply upsetting. This work is vitally important to everyone at Twitch, and we’ll never stop.”
“Preventing child harm is one of our most fundamental responsibilities as a society,” said Twitch in an official statement. “We do not allow children under 13 to use Twitch, and preventing our service from being used for harm is one of our biggest priorities. We know that online platforms can be used to cause harm to children, and we have made extensive investments over the last two years to better stay ahead of bad actors and prevent any users who may be under 13 from accessing Twitch.”
Since the research began in 2020, Twitch has apparently quadrupled the size of its law enforcement response team, working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as well as the Tech Coalition, an industry-wide group that fights online child sex abuse.
If Twitch verifies instances of grooming, the company notifies authorities and investigates the alleged predator’s network. A spokesperson said that Twitch has “numerous additional updates in development” to detect and remove both children and predators.
However, after reviewing the 1,976 allegedly predatory accounts and viewing live recordings and other material, Bloomberg allegedly identified many instances of child grooming that had gone unreported – suggesting the problem could be more widespread.
We've contacted Twitch for a statement on any measures being taken after the report's publishing.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.
This story originally appeared on: IGN - Author:Ryan Leston