Live-streaming platform Twitch introduces ‘AutoMod’ to tackle abuse. An automated moderation tool, the new feature looks set to make Twitch’s notorious chat feature less hostile to women and minorities, making the site altogether more inclusive.
The move from Twitch comes after months of growing concern about the state of the platform’s chat feature. A TwitchCon 2016 diversity panel was hit with mass of racist abuse, while HearthStone pro TerrenceM’s battle with Twitch chat racism also made headlines.
How ‘AutoMod’ Makes Twitch More Inclusive
In a press release, Twitch explains that AutoMod creates a “positive and inclusive chat experience” by using automation and word filters to flag “potentially inappropriate content.” Once flagged by AutoMod “the message is held in a publishing queue awaiting moderator approval.”
Twitch also says that the feature, which is opt-in,”enables broadcasters to adjust the degree of filtering in the event they are more or less conservative about the type of dialogue they want to see in their chat.” In addition to words deemed inappropriate by the streamer, emotes and “other characters or symbols that others could use to evade filtering.”
Although AutoMod only offers English support at present, Twitch says that beta testing for other languages, including Arabic, Czech, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish is currently in the works.
The response to the feature on social media has so far been positive. While there are certainly concerns that the core issues of Twitch abuse isn’t been tackled by AutoMod (namely, that Twitch users feel so comfortable posting sexist, racist and anti-LGBT abuse in the chat in the first place), the fact that streamers can tell AutoMod what to filter will help them combat harassers who find ways to get around traditional filter methods (such as the use of emotes) is being praised.
There’s still plenty of work to be done, sure, but AutoMod could go a long way towards making Twitch a far more welcoming and inclusive place than it has been in the past.