The U.S. Army is pausing all associations with the streaming platform Twitch, following rampant media controversy.
Following incessant backlash, the U.S. Army Twitch channel is retreating from battle with trolls who have assaulted their chat and the critics who call their recruitment tactics irresponsible. When they arrived on the platform, they were ill-prepared for the environment they were walking into.
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The U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force all manage esports teams and use Twitch to connect with potential recruits. In recent weeks, an army of critics has invaded their chat, calling out the military for its history of war crimes. In response, the Army, Navy, and Air Force made matters worse by banning any critics of their institutions from the chat. The ACLU and the Knight First Amendment Institute both responded by sending letters to the Army claiming they had violated the first amendment and asked they stop censoring users.
Wednesday, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez filed a draft amendment that would ban the military from using funds to “maintain a presence on Twitch.com or any video game, e-sports, or live-streaming platform.”
“It’s incredibly irresponsible for the Army and the Navy to be recruiting impressionable young people and children via live streaming platforms," Ocasio-Cortez told Motherboard. "War is not a game, and the Marine Corps’ decision not to engage in this recruiting tool should be a clear signal to the other branches of the military to cease this practice entirely.”
Thursday, reporter Rod “Slasher” Breslau wrote on Twitter that “due to recent media coverage of fake giveaways and potentially unconstitutional bans, the U.S. Army esports team has paused social activity, streaming on Twitch, and official activations with Twitch including participating in upcoming Twitch Rivals events." After weeks of backlash, the Army is withdrawing from Twitch.