US Army Reinstates Twitch Commenters It Banned for Asking About War Crimes

The Army's esports team, facing a potential First Amendment lawsuit, has unbanned commenters and returned to Twitch.
Image: US Army

After a pause from streaming, the U.S. Army esports team is returning to Twitch and reinstating accounts it had previously banned.

"The U.S. Army eSports Team is reinstating access for accounts previously banned for harassing and degrading behavior on its Twitch stream,” the Army told Motherboard in an email. “The team is reviewing and clarifying its policies and procedures for the stream and will provide all who have been banned the opportunity to participate in the space as long as they follow the team's guidelines.”

The U.S. Army’s esports team got into trouble last month when it began banning people in its Twitch chat who were asking questions about American war crimes. That’s a possible violation of the first amendment and the Knight First Amendment Institute has asked it to stop and demanded an answer by August 5. Today is August 5.

The U.S. Army has been absent from Twitch since the controversy started, but has said it will return soon. “The team will resume streaming on Twitch in the near future, but a specific date has not been set at this time,” the Army told Motherboard. “Personal attacks, crude language, pornographic material, harassment and bullying will not be tolerated on the stream, and action will be taken if individuals choose to engage in this behavior."

Jordan Uhl, the progressive activist and Twitch streamer who is working with the Knight First Amendment Institute, told Motherboard on the phone that he is still banned from commenting on the U.S. Army's twitch channel.

The U.S. Army, Navy, National Guard, and Air Force all maintain a presence on Twitch and run esports teams. As they’ve entered these digital spaces, gamers have pushed back against them. The Military isn’t going to go away and this battle is far from over.