On Friday, the US Army esports team has returned to Twitch after voluntarily leaving the platform last month. The stream opened with a long period of time in which a lone streamer sat on camera while viewers in chat spammed messages like “WARCRIMES.” Very little has changed since the last time the Army attempted this, except that this time, these messages did not result in bans for their authors.
Throughout the stream, the chat flooded with messages about white phosphorus, the defunding of the USPS, US war crimes, and more as Chris “Goryn” Jones sat on camera awkwardly. He did answer some of the more straightforward questions, like who his favorite Twitch streamer is, between long, uncomfortable pauses. He eventually started playing World of Warcraft for around 1,500 viewers.
The more pointed questions and comments largely went ignored, although at one point, Jones stated, “Everybody has the [right] to their own opinions.” The stream started under the “just chatting” section on Twitch before he hopped onto the MMO.
The US Army’s presence on Twitch became the subject of controversy in July after it joined the platform as part of an outreach and recruitment initiative. The US Army and the US Navy have banned viewers who ask or talk about war crimes, which is potentially a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech. Twitch stepped in and stopped the US Army from promoting the fake giveaways that would give viewers’ information to military recruiters.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted down a measure that would have prevented the Army and other branches of the military from recruiting on platforms like Twitch on July 30. Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposed the amendment but 103 Democrats, who currently have the majority in the House of Representatives, joined Republicans in voting it down.
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