Streaming website Twitch blocked the U.S. Army’s page from holding bogus “giveaways” for controllers that redirect to an Army recruitment page. This follows reports that found the U.S. military using Twitch streams and online gaming as a recruitment tool for teenagers.
“Per our terms of service, promotions on Twitch must comply with all applicable laws,” a Twitch spokesperson said in a press release. “This promotion did not comply with our terms, and we have required them to remove it.”
The report found the Army, Navy and Air Force employs esports teams comprised of personnel in active service and reserves to stream regularly on their respective Twitch channels. On the Army’s page, an automated message would regularly appear in the stream’s chat telling viewers they can sign up for a “giveaway” for an Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, which typically costs $150 to $200.
The provided link would instead take viewers to a recruitment page for the U.S. military with no mention of a “giveaway.”
“Esports is just an avenue to start a conversation,” Maj.-Gen. Frank Muth of the Army’s recruiting command told YouTube channel ThinkTech Hawaii. “We go out there and we have a shared passion for esports … and it naturally devolves into a conversation, ‘What do you do?’ ‘I’m in the army.’”
It isn’t the only Twitch channel related to the federal government to face blowback recently. President Trump’s channel was served a two-week suspension on June 29 for violations of the platform’s hateful-conduct rules.
“Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch,” Twitch said in a press release. “In line with our policies, President Trump’s channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed.”
The channel has since been reinstated.