Twitch Will Ban Users for Off-Platform Activities: Why Decentralized Social Networks Are Required

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Amazon-owned streaming service Twitch has expanded its rules to include off-platform “misconduct” that breaks its rules and could result in a ban from the streaming service even when it doesn’t occur on their platform. This news comes as an increasing number of big tech companies increase their reach into various aspects of digital life and try to suppress freedom of speech as the guardians of free speech.

“While this policy is new, we have taken action historically against serious, clear misconduct that took place off service, but until now, we didn’t have an approach that scaled. These investigations are vastly more complex and can take significant time and resources to resolve. We have access to the relevant data about activity that occurs on the Twitch service, which enables us to investigate reports and enforce our policies.”, the company wrote in a blog post. To handle reports for its broadened rules, Twitch created a dedicated email address (OSIT@twitch.tv) to handle reports about off-service behaviour. The company says it has partnered with a third-party investigative law firm to vet the reports it receives.

The platform cited its action against the former president of the United States of America — Donald Trump as the most prominent instance of off-platform behaviour that resulted in action by the platform. Twitch disabled Trump’s account following the protests at US Capitol and later banned him indefinitely, citing fears that he could use the platform to instigate violence. Other services that followed suit to ban Trump from their platform include popular social networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Discord, Pinterest, Snapchat, Reddit, Youtube and other platforms such as Google, Apple, Stripe, Twilio, Okta, Shopify, Amazon Web Services and LiquidWeb amongst others. It is hard to eclipse Trump in terms of popularity but in June last year, Twitched suspended one of its most popular streamers - Dr Disrespect without providing an explanation for the decision to permanently ban him from the platform. Even a year later, there is no clarity regarding his expulsion from the streaming platform and the company insists that it only takes action in cases with a “preponderance of evidence”.

Decentralization is the only answer to prevent such incidents. In a decentralized social network, the platform operates on independently run servers rather than a centralized server that is owned by a business. A decentralized social network is open-source and implements decentralized cloud storage platforms such as StorX to store data that leverages blockchain technology to split data into encrypted fragments and store it in individual storage worldwide. This eliminates any possibility of a third party accessing and manipulating the data through unethical means for their profit motive. It is a 100% trustless system that allows full anonymity and gives users more control over their data. A decentralized cloud offers a strong base for decentralized social networks such as Mastodon to build their platform offering more features at a fraction of the cost of centralized cloud storage services such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure among others that have a history of data breaches and using sensitive user data to make more profitable decisions for their business.

Decentralized platforms are essential to protect netizens from the threats of censorship, surveillance, blockages and other methods to curb the freedom of speech. The next version of the world wide web is web 3.0 which will be decentralized and a secure and more private internet might be coming sooner rather than later with the growing popularity of decentralized platforms that are based on blockchain.

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