Websites like Twitch that collect user data must follow the guidelines of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). When Twitch decided to ban viral streamer AverageHarry for making his Twitch account two months before the age of 13 but allowed its biggest streamers to go unscathed despite having done the same, there may be an issue here.
AverageHarry was a Twitch streamer who gained a big following after going viral on reddit. It is a clip where adults were seemingly laughing at him for livestreaming in public. It looks like Twitch staff are the ones laughing at him now after they banned him on Jan 22. AverageHarry lost over 90,000 followers because his account was made before he turned 13. He is the same UK streamer who raised over £5,000 for charity.
But why is this an issue? Twitch is expected to enforce their rules and comply with COPPA guidelines, right? Well, some of Twitch’s largest streamers created their accounts before they were 13, including TommyInnit (3.9M followers), Fresh (3.9M), Bugha (3.8M), Mongraal (3.8M), and Benjyfishy (2.8M) to name a handful. All these accounts, with Twitch’s prior enforcement of banning AverageHarry, should be terminated if Twitch were consistent with their punishment for these rules.
This is the hypocrisy that the Twitch community is furious about, and it’s not new that Twitch has been inconsistent in enforcing its rules in the past. For example, streamers who accidentally and unintentionally showed nudity for a brief moment on stream have been banned for weeks longer than a female streamer who literally showed her full body in a sexually explicit manner only to be banned for 3 days.
Nobody wants these other top streamers to be banned on Twitch. The Twitch community just wants fair rules and consistency in enforcing them. Streamers like TommyInnit and Budha do great things for the livestreaming and gaming ecosystem and AverageHarry should be allowed to succeed just as much as them.
Take a look at Twitter’s policy on this. Users can restore their account after removing posts and messages made before they were 13. Twitch could easily adjust their policy to be like this and allow banned users like AverageHarry to delete saved broadcasts or direct messages made before they were 13 to restore their account. That allows its other big streamers with millions of followers to carry on as normal also, and everyone is happy.