Twitch is stepping up its anti-harassment efforts with a new tool that employs machine learning to detect those who are attempting to circumvent restrictions. It’s the company’s newest tool to counteract hate raids, in which trolls flood streamers’ chat rooms with vile messages.

Suspicious User Detection is a new tool that may identify individuals as “likely” or “possible” people who have gotten around bans on a streamer’s channel. The tool’s machine learning algorithm identifies prospective evaders by examining factors like their activity and account features and comparing that data to accounts that have been banned from a streamer’s channel.

Messages from “likely” evaders will not be sent to chat, but they will be visible to streamers and their mods. Streamers and moderators can opt to either monitor or ban a suspected ban evader, which adds that user to a monitoring list and displays a notice next to their name indicating the monitoring (as demonstrated in the GIF below). Messages from “possible” evaders will appear in the chat, although streamers/mods can choose to have those messages blocked as well.

Suspicious User Detection will be turned on by default, according to Twitch, but streamers can alter or turn it off if they choose. Streamers and moderators can also choose to manually monitor users they suspect.

In a statement to The News Media, Alison Huffman, Twitch’s director of product for community health, said, “This tool was motivated in large part by community input around the need for improved solutions to limit ban evaders.” “When we spoke with mods about their frustrations, we realized that it can be difficult to tell if a user who talked anything that broke their channel’s standards was a destructive, repeat harasser or simply a newbie viewer who hadn’t yet acquired the channel’s customs.” As a result, we created this tool to provide additional information to moderators and creators about suspected ban evaders, allowing them to make more efficient and informed judgments in their channels.”

Suspicious User Detection appears to have the potential to help silence unpleasant people, especially when combined with recently announced restrictions that allow a streamer to require a phone or email verification for chat accounts. However, it remains to be seen how efficient Suspicious User Detection will be in practice, as well as whether ban evaders would be able to work around the technology.

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