Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

Today, Twitch announced it’s implementing a new safety feature that may really feel acquainted to streamers who’ve battled towards the hate raids that plagued the platform final yr. Called Shield Mode, the brand new characteristic enacts an emergency lockdown of a creator’s stream.

“Shield Mode is a little different from our other safety tools,” Twitch mentioned within the announcement. “While it does introduce some entirely new capabilities … its real power comes from the way it combines and levels up existing safety tools in one place.”

Shield Mode appears just like the community-developed “panic button,” which was devised to fight the surge in hate raids that befell final yr. With Shield Mode, streamers and their mods can select settings that may mass ban chatters utilizing a particular phrase or phrase or prohibit first-time chatters from talking in any respect. Then, when the harassment wave is over, Shield Mode will be deactivated, returning the stream to its earlier settings.

One of the attention-grabbing options in Twitch’s announcement of Shield Mode is that it acknowledges and calls out the nerve-racking balancing act marginalized streamers face in the case of security on the platform. Twitch’s present security instruments — like phone-verified chat and its extra mundane options like subscriber- or follower-only mode — are nice at defending creators from malicious assaults like hate raids or spam however have an adversarial impact on a channel’s capacity to develop. Twitch says Shield Mode is exclusive in that it’ll permit streamers to briefly beef up their safety with the contact of a button and, with the identical contact of a button, return issues to regular when the harassment wave passes.

Twitch has lengthy been dinged for its seemingly poor and gradual response to creators who aren’t within the high 0.01 %. The #TwitchDoBetter motion, which led to creators organizing a one-day boycott of the platform, emerged when streamers complained that the platform wasn’t doing sufficient to guard or at the very least proactively talk with the Black, brown, and LGBTQ+ streamers affected by a pointy uptick in harassment campaigns final yr.

Twitch appears to acknowledge this in its messaging round Shield Mode:

Streamers who want on-line safety probably the most—together with Black and LGBTQIA+ streamers disproportionately focused by hate raids— usually want on-line visibility probably the most. So notably for underrepresented communities, we hope this will probably be a primary step in serving to you retain your group open and welcoming to new members, whereas additionally maximizing your security.

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