Amazon wants Twitch to be a safe place to spend time regardless of who you are and where you’re from. It is a global platform which brings people from different cultures together which has both positives and negatives.
One of the internet’s biggest criticisms is also its biggest benefit – it provides a platform where anyone can say whatever they want from a computer with anonymity and sometimes no consequence.
There are some words which people can use can be seen as a grey area and others are outright banned in chat to be used.
In this article we hope to explain some of the vague rules Twitch have on which words (and HOW those words are used) are banned including which are globally banned on the platform and others which can be just banned by the content creator.
Swearing IS allowed on Twitch but with caveats.
When growing your Twitch channel the last thing you need is a Toxic chat.
Is there a global list of banned words on Twitch?
Yes, but it is very short. The words you absolutely can’t say on Twitch and risk an immediate and permanent ban are:
Those are the only words that Twitch have officially stated. But, there are plenty of other words you won’t be able to say without consequence on the platform. By looking at the Twitch ToS and Community guidelines there are three schools of speech which are banned which are discrimination and harassment/violent speech. Games including these words are also banned. Banned words will be related to those four.
To discriminate on Twitch is to treat someone differently because of their race, age, sex or disability. Therefore words to this end are banned globally on Twitch. It is likely that Twitch does hold a hidden list of slurs relating to race, age, sex and disability and will automatically punish the user who used them.
Using hateful slurs, either untargeted or directed towards another individual.Twitch Hateful Conduct and Harassment Guidelines
Therefore, ANY slur, whether used in jest or used in ignorance is banned on Twitch.
Harassment/violent words used in speech
Harassment is difficult to police on Twitch and this may fall on the moderators more than Twitch’s automatic tools, reviewing your chat logs after a heavy stream can also point out bad apples.
Harassment is aggressive and deliberate pressure or intimidation either towards the creator or others in the chat.
There will be a hidden list Twitch uses to make automatic consequences such as “kill yourself” or “hope you get [severe illness]”.
In terms of what words are banned, they will likely be banned sentences, rather than words. For example, it’s difficult to ban words such as “kill”, “suicide” or personal insults which used many common words without accidentally banning people using it innocently during FPS games and so on.
On top of this, words which are used to repeatedly mock a user or creator are banned.
Words you can’t say on Twitch (and may be banned)
I’m sure by reading this you can get a grasp of what words run the risk of being insta-banned or being reported and then later banned. Equally, this article can help content creators and moderators understand what Twitch expects of them and what should not be left unmoderated.
If the above wasn’t enough, here’s a more specific set:
- Words which discriminate on ethnicity or race
- Words which mock or discriminate religious beliefs (or lack of beliefs)
- Words which discriminate or are prejudiced against sex, gender, alignment, identity
- Speech mocking medical disabilities whether directly or generally
- Inciting violence
- Threat of violence
The last point here is not about any specific words but spreading personal information about ANYONE.
List of banned words you should include on your Twitch channel
You can manually add banned words to your Twitch channel (guide down below).
There is no set list out there other than this one here, which you should manually curate as some are very soft to say the least like wtf, bum and arse. But, there are a lot of obvious ones you should include.
Next, we recommend visiting the List of slurs from Wikipedia. This will include many racist words that should be banned. Next, advocate have an article on homophobic slurs you can put in there. After that, Very Well Mind have a list of ableist language to avoid.
The list of offensive words are endless with new ones every day. The best way to stay on top of it is by having active and focused moderators and to review your Twitch logs after a stream. Stamp the problems out as soon as they happen whilst trying your best to pre-empt them with banned words list.
Otherwise just add the words that are clear and obvious, such as the n word and variations of it.
But, why should you ban words on Twitch?
Twitch crack down on abusive language HARD. Content creators should not say these banned or potentially bannable words on stream and should not sit idly by as they are shared in their chat. The person with the most to lose with an hate filled community is the streamer.
If your channel gets banned, that is your revenue stream gone.
How to add banned words on your Twitch channel
By default, AutoMod is included in your channel and you can use it to add words or phrases you want banned automatically if entered. To add more to the list:
- Click on your profile picture
- Head to the creator dashboard
- Click on settings
- Choose moderation
- Turn on AutoMod (if it’s not on)
You’ve then got some settings which you can tweak to your liking, channels intended for mature audiences can go lighter, those catering for younger audiences can go harder.
Tweaking these doesn’t automatically ban words, instead they will hold them for creators and moderators to view and decide later on.
- To add words to the block list when AutoMod is on, head to the blocked terms and phrases menu
- Enter your words and phrases
Should Twitch ban free speech?
There is a lot of debate online on Twitch and elsewhere that censorship goes against the right to free speech. However, Twitch (and Amazon) are both private companies who provided a service and are within their right to enforce terms and conditions.
Twitch Emmet Shear has gone on record to state that Twitch is not a free speech platform.
And to be fair, we agree. Free speech means you are allowed to say anything you want but free speech does not equal freedom from consequence.