An independent investigation into the popular online streaming platform Twitch has revealed several disturbing reports of child predator behavior. Approximately 280,000 children were targeted over a span of nearly two years.
Reader discretion is advised, as this article contains references to child abuse.
The independent investigation, conducted by Bloomberg, identified the mass targeting of children by child predators, who would coerce the young streamers into doing lewd acts on stream. According to the results, approximately 2,000 users were discovered to be specifically following younger streamers during the 22-month period of research.
Of those nearly 2,000 users, hundreds of them followed over 1,000 child streamers exclusively, which, according to the researchers, indicated “that many exist primarily to catalog, watch, and manipulate children.”
In an official statement to Bloomberg, Twitch said that “Preventing child harm is one of our most fundamental responsibilities as a society. 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,” the statement continued. Twitch’s policy, if it verifies potential cases of child predation or grooming, is to notify the proper authorities and launch an investigation into the alleged groomer’s “network,” which includes any alternate accounts or non-child accounts the accused may interact with.
Twitch has, in recent years, increased the size of its investigation teams, including partnerships with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Twitch has also confirmed that it has “numerous additional updates in development” to prevent and remove children from signing up with the platform, as well as increase detection rates for potential predators.
The timing of this report couldn’t have been worse. Twitch is currently under fire, having recently cut the revenue stream of it’s top performers, enraging streamers worldwide. The cut is so severe (20% after the first $100,000 USD earned,) that many are vocally suggesting a move to YouTube.