Is This The Start of Something Bigger?
The #ADayOffTwitch boycott came from a very genuine place. It was a desire to make Twitch, the popular livestreaming platform, a better place for content creators suffering from “hate raids”. They felt like they lacked the tools to fend off the tide of trolls harassing them stream after stream – an issue compounded by the fact that much of this harassment was based around race and gender. Their presence made Twitch feel like a very unwelcoming space, and Twitch’s silence on the issue made them the situation feel hopeless. So, they took matters into their own hands, and organized a boycott – seeking a way to end the trolls once and for all.
No one should have to experience malicious and hateful attacks based on who they are or what they stand for. This is not the community we want on Twitch, and we want you to know we are working hard to make Twitch a safer place for creators. https://t.co/fDbw62e5LW
— Twitch (@Twitch) August 20, 2021
And now that the campaign has come to an end, we’re free to see just how impactful it really was. The numbers are in, calculated by analyst Zack Bussey – after accounting for the usual factors (like the “back to school” season, and a few key streamers migrating to youtube), there was a 5-15% decrease in viewership for the platform, and a 10-12% decrease in streamers broadcasting gameplay. So the impact was very real on Twitch’s end, but depending on how you crunch the numbers, its effectiveness was debatable.
But Bussey also raised an interesting point in his analysis: a boycott like this doesn’t just exist on Twitch’s metrics. The campaign was undoubtedly effective in raising awareness of the “hate raids” issue, with many creators speaking up personally about how the raids impacted them and their experience with gaming as a whole. The amount of discourse created by the boycott can’t so easily be measured, and will continue to grow as long as “hate raids” remain a problem.
Twitch has already demonstrated a willingness to help marginalized creators feel welcome on their platform, but many feel as though their efforts don’t go nearly far enough. If these voices get louder and last longer, the odds of positive change happening is still rather strong – even if it might not come as soon as people hope.