“We have been dealing with this forever, just not in the volume it’s been happening as of late,” Raven shared via her Twitter account on September 30, 2021, just one day after Twitch announced the implementation of the new chat verifications. This uphill climb is particularly tricky for Black streamers hoping to branch out beyond video game content and explore the burgeoning market for beauty streamers on the platform.
As the hate raids continued to persist, Black Twitch users and their allies participated in the #ADayOffTwitch boycott organized by part of its community this past September. That same month, the platform announced on September 9, 2021, that it was filing complaints against two of the streamers that led hate raids. “These actors continue to work hard on creative ways to circumvent our improvements,” the platform said in a statement to NBC News.
Twitch confirms to Allure that it’s met with streamers like RekItRaven for feedback on how it can better serve marginalized creators, noting that it hosted a roundtable on the subject. It also says it has met with advocacy groups for Black and marginalized creators and hosted a Creator Camp to assist users with moderation tools.
But for some Black streamers, it’s simply not enough. “[It feels as if] they used the policies they already had and just rewrote and formulated them differently,” says streamer Kat Kaze, who goes by Kosmic_Kat and streams RPG video games, makeup tutorials, and has her own cosmetics line, Kosmic Essentials. “It was like, ‘Well, we already have things in motion, like auto-mods (moderation tools that block inappropriate or harassing language in the chat window),’ but auto-mods don’t control hatred.”
Kaze’s channel is an important avenue for her to get out news related to drops from her makeup brand. She notes that when she started to do beauty streams, her viewers would comment that the cosmetics she was using were priced beyond what they could afford. Kaze says she built her own brand to specifically address that.
Those makeup-related streams took her channel and her brand to new heights. But despite her enthusiasm, Kaze feels stuck with the looming threat of hate raids, which can be derailing to the purpose of her channel: to make cool, relatable content for her community of gamers in peace.
The True Cost of Hate Raids
As a result, the streamers who actually face the abuse feel they have to take on even more responsibility to protect their accounts, which, as Twitch creator Kiwi On The Sticks explains, can be detrimental to their channel’s growth. “I removed a lot of ‘tags’ from my stream that were helping me with my discoverability because that’s what it does at the end of the day,” she says. “You end up either fighting against all this stuff [racist comments and raids] and maybe antagonizing the bad actor, participating in their little game because they want attention.” Kiwi notes that there is also the option of hiding her tags as she did, “but I don’t want to hide,” she says. “I don’t feel like I should have to, but at the same time I feel very responsible for what my community and my moderators are exposed to and I feel like protecting them because I care about them.”