What just happened? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s attempt to ban the US military from recruiting on Twitch has failed. The US Representative’s proposed amendment to the House Appropriations bill would have prevented the military from using funds to “maintain a presence on Twitch.com or any video game, esports, or live-streaming platform.”
Speaking on the House Floor before yesterday’s vote, AOC said: “Children should not be targeted in general for many marketing purposes in addition to military service. Right now, currently, children on platforms such as Twitch are bombarded with banner ads linked to recruitment signup forms that can be submitted by children as young as 12 years old. These are not education outreach programs for the military.”
The amendment failed after 292 voted against it, with 126 in favor. The majority of those opposing the bill were Republicans (188), though 103 Democrats and one Independent also voted against the changes.
Posing on Twitter after the vote, AOC wrote: “It’s totally fine if you don’t know what Twitch is,” she wrote. “But tech literary is becoming a growing need in Congress so we can legislate to protect people’s privacy.”
Imagine trying to explain to your colleagues who are members of Congress what Twitch is 😭
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 30, 2020
The US Army’s Twitch activities have been plagued with controversy recently. The streaming site was forced to step in when the channel ran a fake competition to win an Xbox Elite Series 2 controller that was just a link to a recruitment form. It’s also been accused of violating viewers’ First Amendment rights by banning users who asked about the Army’s favorite war crimes.
While the Army, Navy, and Air Force all have their own esports teams and Twitch channels, the Marines haven’t been as eager to join in. “This is due in part to the belief that the brand and issues associated with combat are too serious to be “gamified” in a responsible manner.”
The Army had already paused its social activity, streaming on Twitch, and official activations with Twitch following the recent criticism. The military branch told Gamespot it would “review internal policies and procedures, as well as all platform-specific policies, to ensure those participating in the space are clear before streaming resumes.” Some expect the Army will not resume its esports/streaming activities until spring 2021.