Twitch lets streamers require verification before viewers can chat

Twitch might have another way to deter “hate raids” and similar abuse: make it impractical to create a troll account. The livestreaming service has introduced an option that lets streamers and moderators require one-time phone or email verification for chatters. Broadcasters can either require it for everyone or set exemptions based on account age, follow duration or status. A streamer can require verification only for first-timers, for example, or waive the requirement for subscribers and VIPs.

The company will allow as many as five accounts to verify through one phone number for the sake of businesses. However, trolls can’t rely on this to evade bans. Twitch will ban every account linked to a phone number if one of them faces a ban, whether it’s one channel or across the entire service. You also can’t use VOIP or landline numbers

Twitch said it would gauge the impact of verification after launch. It also teased plans for another tool to fight ban evasion in the “coming months.”

This might not spook the most determined harassers. They may create new email addresses or borrow phone numbers. It might reduce the dependence on moderators to curb bad behavior, however, and could discourage ‘casual’ harassment from those who were previously unafraid to lose their accounts. Don’t be surprised if you see fewer hit-and-run incidents the next time you’re watching a stream.

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