The US Army's esports team has 'paused' video game streaming on Twitch following controversy over its recruitment practices and polices
- The US Army representative confirmed to Insider that their esports team has "paused" video game streaming.
- The pause comes in the wake of recent controversy over Army recruitment policies, giveaways on the US Army esports team's Twitch account, and user bans on the team's Twitch account.
- "The team is reviewing ways to customize its submission forms and provide more clarity for each of its giveaways, and they have paused streaming to evaluate internal policies and procedures, as well as all platform-specific policies," a spokesperson for the US Army told Insider.
The US Army esports team, which maintains a social media presence and streams video games like Call of Duty on Twitch, has confirmed to Insider that it has "paused" streaming after recent controversy.
The news, which was first reported by esports consultant and insider Rod "Slasher" Breslau, comes in the wake of controversies surrounding the team's recruitment policies, giveaways on its Twitch channel, and bans of users who mention war crimes on its channel.
Wednesday, Breslau reported on Twitter that "due to recent media coverage of fake giveaways and potentially unconstitutional bans, the US Army esports team has paused social activity, streaming on Twitch, and official activations with Twitch including participating in upcoming Twitch Rivals events."
—Rod Breslau (@Slasher) July 22, 2020
A spokesperson for the US Army confirmed to Insider that the team had stopped streaming for the time being and provided the following statement: "The team is reviewing ways to customize its submission forms and provide more clarity for each of its giveaways, and they have paused streaming to evaluate internal policies and procedures, as well as all platform-specific policies."
The US Army's esports team — particularly its Twitch channel — has been the subject of recent controversy that can arguably be traced back to a tweet in which it used the emoticon "UwU" followed by a double heart emoji. After the tweet incited major backlash on Twitter — with many users questioning the utility of the team and its cost to taxpayers — people's ire fell on the team itself and its use of video games as a method of Army recruitment.
That criticism led to events like people seeing how quickly they could get banned from the US Army esports Discord. Others reported getting banned from the US Army esports team's Twitch channel for referencing United States war atrocities, an action that some legal experts told The Washington Post was unconstitutional.
Adding to the controversy, The Nation reported that viewers on the Army's channel were served a giveaway prompt to enter to win an Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, with a link that reportedly led to a "recruiting form with no additional mention of a contest, odds, total number of winners, or when a drawing will occur." Kotaku later reported that Twitch had required the US Army esports team to remove the promotions, stating that they did not comply with the platform's terms.
A spokesperson for the US Army told Insider that the giveaways are "very real, even though the page looks standard," saying that the esports team is looking to "provide more clarity" for each giveaway, saying that it has given away 10 controllers, gaming stations, and chairs over the course of the past year.
Breslau also reported on Twitter that "this is only a temporary pause from the US Army's side. Twitch continues to have an official partnership with the US Army and Navy."
Twitch confirmed that the US Army and Navy continue to advertise on Twitch.
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