U.S. Army's suspension on Twitch lifted after accusations of deceptive recruiting tactics

U.S. Army's suspension on Twitch lifted after accusations of deceptive recruiting tactics
In Korea, many can avoid compulsory military service if they're good enough at Starcraft.

U.S. Army esports team resurfaces on Twitch after streaming controversy

Late last month, the United State's Army came under intense scrutiny after it's Twitch stream was reported to be offering fake giveaways that led to recruitment pages and "unconstitutional bans" of viewers from their Twitch channel. After a hiatus, the U.S. Army esports team resumed streaming on August 14th.

Back in July, The Nation reported the U.S. Army was accused of initiating giveaways with the purpose of enticing young viewers to stumble upon recruitment forms – despite many Twitch users being minors who are way too young to even consider a military career. This giveaway promised a chance at winning Xbox Elite Series 2 controllers, but when those who investigated tried to register, they were linked to a page that only contained recruitment forms with no information present about said to give away.

The behavior in their Twitch stream's chat was no better. Many viewers seized the opportunity to ask about previous war crimes and how those streaming felt about convicted war criminals – pardoned or otherwise. In retaliation, the U.S. Army immediately banned anyone, even mentioning the word "war crime."

Usually, it's entirely within Twitch's terms of service to ban anyone from any channel at the host's discretion. If someone wants to filter out harmful ideas or inappropriate language, then bans are used as a deterrent and punishment for breaking the stream's rules. However, in the U.S. Army's case, being a government agency, these bans are ruled unconstitutional for violating the First Amendment's right to free speech according to civil rights lawyers.

The reasoning behind this was that the United States Government has no right to censor the speech of citizens should that speech fall within the defined parameters of free speech. So, despite non-government streamers being able to ban without oversight, the U.S. Army is an extension of government and therefore does not enjoy the same lack of oversight from Twitch administrators.

The rampant banning's and coverage only added more fuel to the fire as more and more people signed on to troll the U.S. Army and compete for how fast they could get banned from their Twitch channel and Discord servers.

The discontent reached a crescendo when U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) introduced a measure to ban all U.S. Military branches from recruiting on Twitch. She argued that the Army's use of Twitch as a recruitment tool is highly unethical since much of Twitch's audience is composed of minors as young as thirteen.

AOC's efforts would eventually come to bear no fruit, and her amendment failed to pass a House vote with 45 voting yes to 105 voting no.

Then, on August 14th, the U.S. Army's esports team resumed streaming on Twitch as if nothing happened. Many of the same trolling tactics that plagued the Army's original stream had returned, but with tweaks to their chat policy. Now, violators will not be immediately banned and will instead be placed on temporary suspension based on frequency and severity – which could eventually lead to a full ban those trolls refuse to comply.

It hasn't even been a week since the Army's return, and it still remains to be seen what exactly will become of their efforts now that they are fully committed to continuing on Twitch. It goes without saying that many critics and skeptics will continue to question the motives, ethics, and legitimacy of the United States Army esports team.

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Jose is a left-handed techno-mancer with an affinity for IPAs, big dogs, and black-and-white movies. Rebels are scum, Empire for life.
Gamer Since: 2004
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Mortal Kombat 1, Rimworld, Baldur's Gate 3
Top 3 Favorite Games:Wargame: Red Dragon, Metro: Last Light, Battlefield 4

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