Moderating Video Game Streaming Services

The attacker who killed two people in a shooting at a German synagogue livestreamed the assault on Twitch, a video service owned by Amazon. It was one of the first violent attacks streamed on the service, which is best known for letting people watch others play competitive video games.

Twitch said it found and took down the video with “urgency” and said it was “shocked and saddened by the tragedy.” But the video is reportedly 36 minutes long.

Twitch said only about five people saw the livestream, but 2,200 viewed the finished recording of the video for the next half-hour before Twitch took it down. The video has also spread to other corners of the internet.

Twitch has faced other complaints in the past – largely from female gamers who say they have been harassed, echoing an undercurrent of sexism that has long been an issue in gaming culture. Twitch has policies in place against hateful conduct and harassment and asks users and streamers to report inappropriate conduct.

Internet companies have pledged after each attack to work on preventing such livestreams from happening again, including by advancing artificial intelligence to catch such videos. Bloch-Wehba is skeptical that those efforts alone will entirely halt the problem.

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