Recently, Twitch announced that it would be updating its Hateful Conduct and Harassment Policy. And apparently, words such as “simp,” “virgin,” and “incel” will no longer be welcome on the platform starting on January 22.
In a December 9 blog post, the live video streaming service wrote that certain groups of people—in particular, women, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, Black, Indigenous, and people of color—face disproportionate harassment and abuse on the internet. And that, unfortunately, includes the Twitch service, the blog post admitted.
"Not only is this blatantly unacceptable, [but] it also undermines the community we’re building on Twitch and threatens the long term viability of streaming as a career for everyone who wishes to pursue it," the post reads.
Consultant Rod Breslau posted about it on Twitter:
In a live-streamed town hall meeting on Wednesday, however, Twitch COO Sara Clemens expanded upon exactly what the company would be doing to fight harassment on the platform. When the new policy goes into effect, Twitch users who use terms such as "simp," "virgin," and "incel" as insults, to negatively refer to another person’s sexual practices, will face suspension or banning.
"'Simp' is being banned under a portion of the revamped policy that prohibits derogatory statements about another person’s perceived sexual preferences," said Clemens during the meeting. "And that does include negatively targeting another person with sexually-focused terms."
She added that the platform would also be "proactively denying" emotes that include all three of these terms.
"We will take action against the use of terms like 'simp,' 'incel' or 'virgin' specifically when they are being used to negatively refer to another person’s sexual practices," a Twitch spokesperson told The Verge. "Using these terms on their own wouldn’t lead to an enforcement but we would take action if they were used repeatedly in a harassing manner."
"Simp," for the uninitiated, disparagingly refers to "someone who will do anything to get to a girl's attention, often at the expense of their own dignity." Although it seems like a sentiment that would be found exclusively on websites like 4chan—as of late, it has begun to infiltrate the mainstream pop culture lexicon.
On the other side of the coin, incels are generally defined as "young men who consider themselves unable to attract women sexually," and therefore often become hostile or violent towards women.
Twitch mods will have a difficult road ahead of them, with the ultimate goal of making the platform safer and more inclusive for everyone.