Twitch has updated its hateful conduct and harassment policy to now outlaw the usages of the terms ‘simp’, ‘incel’, and ‘virgin’ in a derogatory context.
The changes will go live on 22 January and include a new section on sexual harassment to prevent streamers and commenters from making offensive comments in that direction. The changes were confirmed and clarified by Twitch COO Sara Clemens during a live-streamed town hall.
Clemens stated that the terms were banned as “negatively referring to another person’s sexual activity is not allowed under this new policy” and that emotes with the term ‘simp’ in them will be removed. The news was first broken by esports consultant Rod Breslau.
The new section on sexual harassment outlines examples on what Twitch constitutes as such, including but not limited to:
- Requesting sexual favours from another user.
- Alleging that a person is sexually immoral due to their attire or physical appearance.
- Suggesting that a person’s channel is only popular or has not been banned due to sexual favours.
- Degrading another person by accusing them of having contracted a sexually transmitted infection.
- Offering revenge porn of another person.
The Twitch policy intends to acknowledge that sexual harassment can occur to anyone on the platform “regardless of their gender” and that “Satirical content is acceptable if it uses elements such as irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and critique abusive behaviors.”
people online are absolutely overusing these terms that they're meaningless, and losers constantly misuse terms like simp to attack anyone who says anything nice about women. however this likely won't address either of these problems. so perfectly on brand for Twitch rules
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) December 16, 2020
For those not educated on internet slang, simp refers to a man that is too submissive to women, often in the pursuit of sexual attention. Like any insult, it has been used outside of its context, as seen with former Labor Party leader Bill Shorten calling Prime Minister Scott Morrison a simp to outgoing US president Donald Trump.
Incel is a portmanteau of ‘involuntary celibates’ and refers to a mostly male online subculture who are unable to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one. Discussions within these communities are often filled with misogyny and endorse violence against sexually active people, the ideology being described as a terrorism threat by academics and law enforcement.
While the usage of these terms, especially simp, has proven problematic, merely banning the words appears to be a band-aid solution from Twitch for a much wider cultural problem regarding rampant misogyny and general anonymity.
Read the full policy here.
from what i hear, responding after Sara, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear, in what may be the most on point thing he's said all year, said "I think people understood, but they don't trust us". yes Emmett you finally got it, well done
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) December 17, 2020