Twitch’s chat window has emerged as the streaming platform’s native language, but it also infamously serves as a meeting ground for some of the site’s most unsavory trolls. For streamers who wish to fight back against in-chat haters, Twitch has unveiled a new tool: It’s called AutoMod, and it enables a bot that automatically flags any chat messages that contain inappropriate content.
Twitch is already governed by human moderators, but given the speed at which the platform’s chat moves, many messages go live and make an impact before they can be removed. That’s where AutoMod comes in. It has four moderation levels, ranging from least strict to most. When turned on, it immediate checks chat messages against its filters to see if they contain aggressive, sexual, profane, or abusive language. Should the bot deem a message inappropriate, it will hold that post back so it can be reviewed by a human moderator.
Twitch tested out AutoMod during its streams of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions earlier this year, and will now offer the system to all users. “For the first time ever, we’re empowering all of our creators to establish a reliable baseline for acceptable language and around the clock chat moderation,” said Twitch moderation lead Ryan Kennedy.
Some critics may see AutoMod as an overzealous form of policing that blunts the spontaneity that makes Twitch chat that fascinating cultural hub it is. Luckily for them, the service is completely optional. Streamers who wish to leave their chat windows unfettered can still do so; they just might encounter a lot of strong language along the way.