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Straggling journos target Twitch with old-news accusations of corona conspiracies

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The pandemic (the one, the only, that needs no special introduction) is quickly becoming old news – as riots are picking up speed in US media.

All of this is taking place as the November 2020 presidential election looms ever larger over the entire media horizon, like some ominous Zoom background that everybody sees, but nobody’s really acknowledges yet.

Yet there are those who are still – seemingly – committed to getting quagmired in the pandemic fever of outing and punishing coronavirus conspiracies on social networks. Like Kotaku.

This (unjustifiably) long piece goes into accusing some in the gaming/streaming community as acting irresponsibly during the health crisis on their prime platform: Amazon’s Twitch. And more specifically, it seems to be all about shaming the platform itself for not living up to its social media peers like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook when it comes to policing and censoring content. (Once again – we’re still talking about coronavirus here. Why.)

In any case, the article regurgitates all the talking points of the months past concerning some controversial, and then more often than not censored and stifled speech around the pandemic: the Icke interview, and why 5G networks and Bill Gates might or might not be bad news for humanity.

Another thing we learn from the article is that there are real people working for real companies these days who specialize in “misinformation and disinformation.” Specialize – how? Who issues “misinformation and disinformation” certificates as professional credentials? Kotaku doesn’t expand on that point, of course – but the article does identify one such person as Will Partin, who works for the Data & Society non-profit and is a contributor to the site.

Partin blames “a lack of algorithmic connectivity as a reason why individual islands of Covid-19 conspiracy content haven’t yet cohered into a more systemic problem.”

That would mean that Twitch, due to its nature as a streaming platform, has not yet mastered machine learning (aka “artificial intelligence”) “recommendations” system the way YouTube and Twitter might have done.

But Kotaku’s commitment to exploring this by-now largely non-story about coronavirus, might not be as flaky as it seems on the face of it – because the ultimate signal to Twitch here is that it is dangerously lagging behind censorship practices. And that’s not a single-issue thing.

“Twitch’s lack of a hardline systemic approach to policing conspiracy theories could cause problems here, too. For now, these channels are small, but if left unchecked, they will likely grow,” Kotaku warns.

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