According to reporter Rod “Slasher” Breslau, the negative response to the Army’s activities on Twitch — including orchestrating giveaways that lead to recruitment pages (which Twitch banned), and blocking users from asking about war crimes in the channel’s chat section — have made the Army reconsider its reach out efforts online.
On the same day, reports appeared that U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) will file a measure that will prevent the United States military from trying to recruit applicants through video games, including esports and streaming platforms like Twitch.
As reported by Vice, a draft amendment has been filed on July 22 to the House Appropriations bill that would stop the military from using funds to “maintain a presence on Twitch.com or any video game, e-sports, or live-streaming platform.”
Since the Pentagon’s budget is still in its early stages, the measure still has a long way’s to go before actually making it into the bill, if it ends up making it in at all.
The United States has a history of using video games as a potential recruitment tool for the Army. The organization even developed its own video game called America’s Army to aid in these efforts.
The Army’s foray into Twitch was met with skepticism, especially as it reached out to Twitch’s community. During a livestream, one commenter repeatedly asked “What’s your favorite war crime?” in the Twitch chats, leading the channel to begin banning users. The ACLU says the bans violated first amendment rights.
The US Army has been trying to make a bigger digital footprint elsewhere on social media to mixed results. Including this now infamous exchange with the Discord Twitter account.
Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN.