Twitch is stepping up its anti-harassment efforts with a new tool that employs machine learning to detect those who may be attempting to circumvent restrictions. It’s the company’s newest tool to tackle hate raids, in which trolls flood broadcasters’ conversations with vile remarks.
Suspicious User Detection is a new tool that may identify individuals as “likely” or “possible” persons who have gotten around bans on a streamer’s channel.
The tool’s machine learning algorithm identifies possible evaders by analyzing factors like their activity and account features and comparing that information to accounts that have been banned from a streamer’s channel.
Messages from “likely” evaders will not be sent to chat, but they will be visible to broadcasters and their mods. Streamers and moderators can opt to either monitor or ban a suspected ban evader, which adds that person to a monitoring list and displays a notice next to their name indicating the monitoring (as demonstrated in the GIF below). Messages from “possible” evaders will display in chat, although broadcasters/mods can choose to have such messages blocked as well.
Suspicious User Detection will be turned on by default, according to Twitch, although streamers may alter or turn it off if they choose. Streamers and moderators can also choose to manually monitor users they suspect.
“This tool was inspired in large part by community feedback around the need for better ways to curb ban evaders,” Alison Huffman, Twitch’s director of product for community health, said in a statement to The Verge. “When we were speaking with mods about their pain points, we heard that it can be hard to distinguish whether a user who chatted something that violated their channel’s norms was a harmful, repeat harasser or just a newer viewer who hadn’t learned that channel’s customs yet. As such, we designed this tool to give mods and creators more information about potential ban evaders so they could make more efficient and informed decisions within their channel.”
Suspicious User Detection appears to have the potential to help silence unpleasant people, especially when combined with recently announced restrictions that allow a streamer to require a phone or email verification for chat accounts. However, it remains to be seen how efficient Suspicious User Detection will be in practice, as well as if ban evaders would be able to work around the technology.