- Members of the US Navy and Army have their own Twitch broadcast channel, which is called USArmyEsports. He regularly conducts live broadcasts of video games such as Call of Duty and League of Legends, while also opening a chat channel where users present in the broadcast can talk about life in the military.
- Welcome to the US Army Esport's Official Twitch. Here, we share our member's passion for gaming, showcase competitions, and connect with our viewers.
- Twitch as a recruitment tool — Over the past decade or so, the United States military's mode of recruitment has undergone considerable sophistication. The jingoistic appeals made to audiences — through text, audio, and video — have gotten more covert and tacit, embedded in video games and streams.
So far, the American military has certainly made some questionable decisions – this time not so much about their behaviour in military conflicts, but more about the way they choose to advertise. Naturally, the army as well as other branches of the military are actively recruiting new members. The recruitment tactics vary and evolve over the years.
Recently the US army tried to use Twitch for their soft recruitment efforts. Its likely part of the new US Navy’s advertising budget focused on online advertising including esports. More specifically, they tried to promote US Army esports by showing veterans and military personnel playing Call of Duty as well as some competitive esports. Additionally, US Army esports tournaments are a thing for awhile now.
Army eSports Team resumes live streaming on its Twitch channel today after a five-week pause to review and update internal policies and procedures. Army esports marketing giveaways include. Army has faced substantial blowback for banning Twitch users asking about war crimes on its eSports channel, a move that potentially violates free speech laws. The criticism has been so intense that the Army has now paused streaming on its Twitch channel, which it uses as a recruitment method.
© US Army Esports
While some people were offended just by the recruitment content in general, the army took it even further. Viewers found themselves banned from the chat when they brought up the number of different war crimes the American military has been accused of. Naturally, people weren’t happy with the censorship. Moderation settings outright blocked the words “war crimes”, but even spelling it as ‘w4r cr1mes’, some users banned by the moderators.
There were also some sarcastic comments from the streamers themselves. Joshua ‘Strotnium’ David, the streamer in question referred to the users that mentioned the atrocities the American military has previously committed as ‘internet keyboard monsters’ and finished it off by pointing out that ‘I’m bigger than you.’ Needless to say, nobody was very pleased by the 12-year veteran’s behavior – though admittedly it wasn’t as bad as some of the other behavior Twitch streamers have shown.
Twitch Us Army Esports
just having a good time with the US Army esports twitch stream @JordanUhlpic.twitter.com/qnjyxg1KP0
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) July 8, 2020
Now the army is under fire in a more unusual way – complaints about censorship and violations of the US first amendment have summoned lawyers on the plan, who see serious issues here.
Throwing in the hat
In reaction, the army stopped their streaming and took themselves off the Twitch esports directory, and subsequently announced that they were reviewing internal policies and procedures. The Knight First Amendment Institute (a group that defends free speech) sent a letter demanding that the military restore the comments that were deleted over the last few weeks.
A total of 300 or so accounts found themselves penalised for, what the army called ‘harassment’. Kelli Bland, an army spokeswoman said that the users were banned because their harassing comments violated the ToS of Twitch.
“The eSports Team blocked the term ‘war crimes’ in its Twitch channel after discovering the trend was meant to troll and harass the team. […] Following the guidelines and policies set by Twitch, the U.S. Army eSports Team banned a user from its account due to concern over posted content and website links that were considered harassing and degrading in nature.”
Contrary to this statement, courts have previously decided that social media accounts of the government are not allowed to block or exclude people based on their comments or views – not even on Twitch.
Trolling the rules
Whether or not the army was violating free speech with their generous bans, a number of watchers certainly had their fun with the whole thing – by trying to get banned as quickly as possible, regardless of the moral and legal implications of the ban-hammering.
It’s not the first time either – when the army’s official Twitter account used ‘UwU’ in a tweet, it brought on a lot of mockery – and once again, people trying to see how fast they could get banned from the official army Discord server.
It is interesting however, that toxic behavior, trolling and being mean are frowned upon on most platforms. Yet when a veteran or US Army streamer plays video games and people ask about “war crimes”, and go on to abuse the streamer, that’s all A OK and fair game. US Army personnel just like any category of streamers should not be abused and mobbed just because their opinions or goals differs from yours.
The US Army hosts a Twitch channel and Discord server dedicated to gaming as apart of their recent esports initiatives. What they probably didn’t anticipate was thousands of Twitter users racing to get banned from their pages by mentioning war crimes. It actually became a challenge to see who could get banned from the US Army’s Discord server the fastest. Users resented their esports initiatives, declaring them a predatory recruitment tactic aimed at young people. This controversy spilled over onto Twitch during a Wednesday night Call of Duty: Warzone stream.
— The Big Chillin (@Kofie) July 8, 2020
Green Beret Joshua “Strotnium” David, was live playing the game on the US Army’s Twitch channel, when users began flooding the chat with messages regarding war crimes and references to the esports initiatives predatory nature. It wasn’t long before the ban hammer came out, with user after user being blocked from the Twitch page, including esports personality Rod “Slasher” Breslau. Breslau posted a video of himself getting banned for the comment “what’s your favorite US war crime” and quickly realized the chat was automated to ban commenters who used the phrase “war crime.” This sparked yet another speedrun challenge as users raced to the US Army’s Twitch page to presumably get banned for their comments. One Twitter user even took to the opportunity to highlight the transphobic culture within the military and share their ban receipts.
Us Army Twitch War Crimes
i used to be only banned from joining the military for being trans… but now im also banned from the us army esports twitch. my secret? i typed “google operation ranch hand it’s a cool new game by nintendo”. every ban amplifies the power of the cultural marxist agenda 10x OOOGH pic.twitter.com/ue4v01exnN
— kirnixis (@kirnixis) July 3, 2020
Us Army War Crimes
The US Army’s Discord server had to be shut down due to member influx and is still inaccessible. Their Twitch channel dates back months and is still up, but the train wreck on Wednesday prompted a response from the US Army. They have released a statement to Vice addressing this entire situation:
Twitch Tos On Giveaways
“The U.S. Army eSports Team follows the guidelines and policies set by Twitch, and they did ban a user from their account,” a representative of the U.S. Army esports team said in a statement. “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.”