Internet as a Privilege: Twitch Announces Bans for “Offline Activity” – What’s Next?

The game streaming service Twitch is owned by Amazon.

I don’t know if you knew that.

They’re now banning people for things they do off of the platform.

From Twitch’s official blog, posted on April 7:

Our current guidelines state that in some serious cases where there is available, verifiable evidence, we may take action against users for hateful conduct or harassment that occurs off Twitch services—meaning on social media, other online services, or even offline—when directed at members of the Twitch community.

We are updating and expanding our approach to off-service enforcement, which now falls into two categories:

Category one: Someone is harassed on Twitch, as well as off Twitch. When this happens, we will take into account verifiable, off-service behaviors or statements that relate to an incident that took place on Twitch. For example: if we’re reviewing a harassment report about an incident that happened live on stream, related or continued harassment on Twitter could be taken into account when reported to us. This is how our current off-service policy works in the vast majority of cases, and will not change.

Category two: We will now enforce against serious offenses that pose a substantial safety risk to the Twitch community, even if these actions occur entirely off Twitch.

This is part of a general push to reclassify access to the internet as a privilege.

The first company to do this was actually Patreon, which banned Sargon of Akkad for saying “nigger” on YouTube. That was a long time ago. I’m sure it’s one of those things that’s hard to Google, but I can promise you it happened. I think it was 2017, actually. It’s when Sargon was fighting with the Alt-Right.

Honestly, I still don’t understand what Sargon was fighting about, and I hope he’s doing okay. He was a total scumbag, but everyone on the internet is. (Yes, Sargon did some specifically weird shit with his secret planning chats – but whatever! He should be able to talk!) We had fun times back then. I wish things were still the way they were, when we could all just talk to each other openly, and we could just say whatever we thought.

There are so many weird and wonderful people who have been silenced by this system. It would just be so amazing if we were all allowed to just talk freely. There is zero chance we wouldn’t have brought down the system by now.

But yeah, this is going to be the new standard: anyone who does anything these companies don’t like is going to be banned from all of these services.

They are going to start banning people from using Amazon. I think I am actually banned from using Amazon. It’s been years ago, but they started canceling my orders, and just doing weird stuff, generally. I don’t know for sure that it was targeted, but it definitely felt like it.

And there is obviously nothing stopping Amazon from banning people from using their services.

What’s more, there is nothing to stop Amazon from blocking people from shopping at Whole Foods.

You people don’t seem to understand this, but they are going to install facial-recognition systems that look like tablets on sticks at the entry of all chain stores in America, probably within the next 12-18 months.

These devices are being marketed everywhere.

Speaking of Amazon – Amazon already has these things for sale for $1,100. Note the “Amazon’s Choice” label, meaning someone at Amazon went through all of the face-scanning thermometers and selected their favorite one.

They got you used to doing the temperature-taking thing, now they’re going to introduce face-scanners as another part of that process.

The face-scanner will obviously be hooked to the internet – as is advertised on that Amazon link. There will be a database of people’s faces, and they’ll be able to know if you said “nigger” on the internet, or made fun of AOC or whatever.

But don’t worry – it’s all done by private companies, so this is all totally legal.

Just like private companies have an absolute right to decide what you’re allowed to say on the internet, and collude together to ban you from speaking on the internet, they also have an absolute right to create a shared face-scanning database and decide whether or not you are allowed to buy food based on your political views.

That’s libertarianism, folks. And this is a libertarian society somehow, even though it is also somehow totally Marxist.

When I say “I hate to say I told you so,” I really do hate it. I wish this wasn’t happening.

But more than two years ago, during the censorship discussion, I wrote this in response to some conserva-thot saying the government shouldn’t regulate tech companies:

We do not live in Somalia. We live in a country with laws and a government that is tasked with enforcing the law, and our law says that people have a right to freedom of speech.

Taking this theory of “corporate monopolies can collude with each other to deny basic rights to individuals based on their political views or for any other reason and the government can’t stop them because of our values” to its ultimate conclusion, you could literally justify people being denied food, shelter and clothing and being forced to die in the streets.

What if all grocery stores colluded to decide not to sell you food because you’re a racist?

Would it be immoral for the government to pass a law saying that it is illegal for grocery stores to discriminate against their customers and that they have to sell people food?

If not, then how is this situation any different, at all?

Or would this bitch literally say “well, if all the grocery stores deny you service, you can hunt small birds with a pointed stick in a public park.”

What if hunting small birds in a public park is illegal? I assume it is illegal. Would her response be “well, the answer isn’t more regulation; if people are starving to death in the streets because they were blacklisted by grocery stores, we need to decriminalize hunting small birds in public parks with pointed sticks”?

There are no government-owned grocery stores that are forced to respect your First Amendment rights. So according to the doctrine established during the 2017 censorship wave, where every American or European-owned tech company on earth colluded together to ban the Daily Stormer, it is totally a part of “private companies’ right to choose who they do business with” to let you starve to death in the street because of something you said on the internet.

Of course, saying politically incorrect things on the internet is not as big of an issue as vaccine refusal, which is going to be the more immediate reason for using those face scanners – these companies are going to create a “vaccine passport” system that, in order to avoid fraud, scans your face to see if you’ve gotten the vaccine.

Can you even imagine a worse dystopia?

We can say that Philip K. Dick got this future more accurately than either Aldous Huxley or George Orwell, and that would be true.

But this is all more bizarre than anything PKD imagined.

This is a Lynchian Dystopia.