Twitch has released a new feature called Shield Mode that allows streamers to create multiple safety settings to prevent harassment. After creating those settings, they can be activated at the push of a button, and it's intended as a way to safeguard (or get ahead of) users being harassed.
For years, the streaming platform has had an issue with its members being bullied and harassed. Users have often requested for features in the past that could lessen or wholly eliminate harassment, particularly hate raids, wherein bots will flood a streamer's chat with hateful language.
With Shield Mode, streamers can tweak settings such as who can comment (strictly followers or subscribers), verification options (phone or email), and later share those settings with their mods.
Upon activation, Shield Mode will also mass ban users who use specific phrases and prevent first-time chatters from chiming in. Both functions will be particularly helpful for queer streamers or streamers of color.
The implementation of Shield Mode follows last year's #ADayOffTwitch blackout, where streamers turned their channels off in a show of action against the attacks.
Following that day long blackout, Twitch filed a lawsuit against a pair of users that had masterminded a series of hate raids against those streamers, several of whom were Black and/or queer.
In its blog, Twitch directly addresses those hate raids being a catalyst for Shield Mode's creation. "Particularly for underrepresented communities, we hope this will be a first step in helping you keep your community open and welcoming to new members, while also maximizing your safety," it wrote.
Twitch continued by saying that it planned on creating more features to help users combat harassment, and taking better measures to stop harassment on its end going forward. "Safety work is never over, and we’re working on more tools that make it easier to moderate your channel.