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Twitch launches new tool to safeguard chat from harassment

Suspicious User Detection will flag channel ban evaders.

Twitch has launched a Suspicious User Detection tool to help safeguard streamers and their chat from abuse.

The tool comes in the wake of hate raids and harassment on the platform, particularly for streamers from marginalised communities.

It aims to catch users evading channel-level bans, powered by machine learning, by highlighting potentially suspicious activity in chat.

"When you ban someone from your channel, they should be banned from your community for good. Unfortunately, bad actors often choose to create new accounts, jump back into Chat, and continue their abusive behaviour. Suspicious User Detection, powered by machine learning, is here to help you identify those users based on a number of account signals," explains a blog post by Twitch.

There are two levels of flags for suspicious activity. For "likely" ban evaders, any message in chat will be visible only to streamers and their moderators. For "possible" ban evaders, the message will be shown but flagged to streamers and moderators. From there, messages can be removed and users banned.

The tool will be turned on by default across all streams. However, streamers will have the option to turn it off, or adjust the settings to be more cautious - for instance, preventing any and all messages flagged by the tool.

"One thing to prepare for, particularly around launch, is that no machine learning will ever be 100 percent accurate," says Twitch, which is why bans on suspicious activity aren't automatic.

"You're the expert when it comes to your community, and you should make the final call on who can participate. The tool will learn from the actions you take and the accuracy of its predictions should improve over time as a result."

Twitch continues: "This tool highlights our overall approach to safety technology: build powerful tools that work together to give you finer control over your community. Our work will never be finished and we're continuing to develop more tools to prevent hate, harassment, and ban evasion on Twitch."

Response to the new tool has been positive on Twitter, where users say the move marks a significant step forward from the streaming platform in keeping communities safe.

"This is an awesome feature," said RekItRaven, a streamer involved in the #ADayOffTwitch campaign.