The Bloomberg report’s Twitch exposes the threat of children and predators

Bloomberg’s new article, titled “On Twitch,” shows how the streaming platform designed for video games is being used by child predators to find and exploit children in real time.

It goes without saying that the article is deeply disturbing. Don’t go to the table unprepared, so don’t go overboard. This book, author Cecilia DAnastasio, shows how kids are all essentially Twitch-focused and streaming themselves for fun, which violates the Terms of Service. Then predators use twitch observation filters to identify them and use a chat system to get the kids dancing and even worse.

These are not isolated cases; The article’s allegations and conclusions are based on a multi-year research project and analysis by Twitch, which found that more than a quarter million children were targeted between 2020 and 2022 by accounts that appeared to track and stalk young children on the platform. In fact, Bloomberg says it found even more troubling videos and predatory accounts in its analysis, suggesting the problem could be much more widespread than the data shows.

According to the report, the unusual behavior patterns observed in these reports have shown that many of them exist primarily to catalogue, observe and manipulate children, including giving them everything from lewd dances to explicit sexual acts, they say. The pandemic has made it a lot worse, with potential victims and more predators seeking the platform to be found. Research shows that the number of children who broadcast each month has doubled in the last year.

In its statement, Twitch says that this is precisely why children under the age of 13 are not allowed to use Twitch, although the difficulty is not changing the rules; The Amazon-owned company says its in-house team has quadrupled its hunt for predators. This work is vital for everyone on Twitch and never ends, a Twitch representative wrote. Recent reporting tools appear to have resulted in 41% of accounts being aggregated by this single researcher (although 579% of respondents disagreed that the other 59% weren’t).

Yet changing Twitch now to see a thumbnail of small streaming kids remains trivially easy, it seems, and DAnastasio points to criticism accusing Twitch’s over-reliance on user reports. On a quest [kid streams] accounted for 5 of the first 15 results, the article states. This leaves young streamers vulnerable to looting as they communicate anonymously with radio and video TV users. Predators not only pretend to discourage sharp ventures, but also spoof text strings to deter predators or try to get fed up with streamers on off-Twitch routes where their crimes are more visible.

Internet predators are not new; This is the stuff our parents warned us about in the 90’s. Unfortunately, the platforms that are good at connecting us still make it far too easy, even for bad actors, to connect and exploit.

Source: Bloomberg. happy birthday The Bloomberg report’s Twitch exposes the threat of children and predators

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