Following a recent banning fiasco, The US Army esports sector is in hot water again with Twitch. TheNation.com did an investigation in the US Army’s Twitch channel and uncovered a number of automated chat prompts to viewers about an Xbox Elite Series 2 controller giveaway. The only problem is, the link included in these messages leads to a recruitment page, with no further mention of any giveaway. They also report that the US Army esports Twitter page shares similar posts labeled “Register to Win!” with a sign-up form that discreetly stipulates the allowance of a lecture from an Army recruiter. Children as young as 12 are permitted to fill out the forms, despite recruiters being prohibited from contacting children under the age of 16.
Up until this point, Twitch had been tight-lipped about the recent wave of criticism lobbed at The US Army’s esports initiatives on their platform. Popular streamer Jayson “ManvsGame” Love, commented on the companies silence, saying “The silence from Twitch on the latest wave of criticism regarding the military using the site to scam kids into sharing personal info speaks volumes. Imagine ANY other channel doing that. Feel free to manipulate your viewers as much as you like, I guess?” TheNation.com cites Twitch’s advertising pitch, as it highlights their reach with 80% of teen males in the United States. This makes them a perfect platform for US Army recruiting, and US Army esports initiatives. Couple that with the fact that military esports streams are not considered mature content by the platform, so there are a lot of potential young eyes on their Twitch channel.
A spokesperson for Twitch spoke with Kotaku to address this recent controversy, saying “Per our Terms of Service, promotions on Twitch must comply with all applicable laws. This promotion did not comply with our Terms, and we have required them to remove it.” The US Army esports team did not reply to requests for comment. With so much backlash surrounding their esports initiatives, it remains to be seen how they plan to continue expanding in the space.