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The US Army Is Banning Twitch Users For Mentioning War Crimes In Chat

The official US Army esports channel has now auto-moderated the phrase "war crimes."


Recently, Twitter users raced to get banned from the US Army Esports official Discord server, with the influx of users causing the server to shut down completely to new users. Now, with the Discord server still unreachable, people have taken to the US Army's Twitch chat instead, Vice reported.

During a stream on Wednesday night where Green Beret Joshua "Strotnium" David played Call of Duty: Warzone, esports personality Rod "Slasher" Breslau posted a video of him getting banned after asking about war crimes. Breslau discovered that the Army had automatically moderated the phrase "war crimes" after attempting to ask "whats your favorite us war crime?" After changing it to "whats your favorite u.s. w4r cr1me?" Breslau then linked the Wikipedia page for United States war crimes, a tactic also used by users speedrunning bans on the Army's Discord, and was banned moments later.

After the video was posted to Twitter, other users decided to join in on speedrunning bans in the Twitch channel by mentioning US war crimes. Some cited grievances with the use of Twitch as an Army recruitment tool, while others protested the 2019 ruling that banned transgender people from serving in the military.

"I think every post that I do from now on is going to say UwU in it just to flex," David said on the stream, referring to the US Army esports tweet that drew attention to the Army's esports channels in the first place. "Ya’ll are gonna talk all that crap to my angels on the esports team, the nicest person in the entire world, you little internet keyboard monsters. No, I won’t stand for that. I’m bigger than you."

The stream was soon stopped, coming back later with follower-only chat--where only users who had followed the Army's account for over 24 hours could post in the chat. The channel gained over 660 new followers during the Strontium stream according to TwitchTracker, one of the highest seen on any US Army stream, suggesting a number of users were trying to circumvent the chat restrictions.

The US Army esports team later sent a statement to Vice about the bans.

"The U.S. Army eSports Team follows the guidelines and policies set by Twitch, and they did ban a user from their account," the statement read. "Team members are very clear when talking with potential applicants that a game does not reflect a real Army experience. They discuss their career experiences in real terms with factual events. Team members ensure people understand what the Army offers through a realistic lens and not through the lens of a game meant for entertainment. This user's question was an attempt to shift the conversation to imply that Soldiers commit war crimes based on an optional weapon in a game, and we felt that violated Twitch's harassment policy. The U.S. Army offers youth more than 150 different careers, and ultimately the goal of the Army eSports Team is to accurately portray that range of opportunities to interested youth."

The US Army, Navy, and Air Force all have their own esports teams, though the initiatives have come under fire for their use of videogames to recruit young people. The Twitch channel has been especially controversial as a site that's popular with young people, with users as young as 13 able to sign up for the platform.

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