An amendment proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) that would bar the U.S. military from using the popular video game streaming site, Twitch, was struck down in the House last week.
Launched in 2011, Twitch is now one of the largest video game streaming sites in the world, with more than 15 million average users per day. Users tune in to watch personalities play games as well as interact with them through the chat feature. `
The proposed amendment to the House Appropriations Bill would have prohibited the use of funds for military recruitment via Twitch and other esports activities. The amendment was introduced in response to the aggressive recruiting that had been used by all branches of the military on the site, with the U.S Army being the most prevalent.
The U.S military branches had been cited on multiple occasions for their predatory recruitment tactics that seemed to target children visiting the site. In early July, the U.S Army was given a warning by the site for using fake giveaway links that directed people to recruitment pages.
Piyush Kumar, founder of Memphis-based esports team, Glaive Esports, was critical of the practice.
“I think that U.S Army recruitment is important, but there is a reasonable place for it,” said Kumar. “There is a section on Twitch called “Just Chatting,” where content creators can directly speak to viewers about a range of topics, and many of them can be educational. I see no harm in the military giving educational presentations on the platform about joining the military, but baiting viewers with false giveaways is not the right way to go about it.”
The tactic was also condemned by Ocasio-Cortez.
Though the draft of the amendment was initially approved, Ocasio-Cortez relayed frustration at her colleagues' lack of knowledge regarding the amendment via Twitter following the vote.
Imagine trying to explain to your colleagues who are members of Congress what Twitch is 😭— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 30, 2020
Both the U.S Army and the U.S Navy have denied wrongdoing and have stated that they will continue to stream on Twitch.