U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is introducing a measure that would prevent the military from using video games, esports, and live streaming services for recruitment, according to Vice. Currently, several branches of the military, including the US Army and Navy, maintain their own esports teams and Twitch channels.
The measure comes after numerous controversies regarding the military’s Twitch presence. The US Army and the US Navy have been banning viewers who ask or talk about war crimes, which is potentially a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech since the organizations are extensions of the federal government. Twitch recently stopped the US Army from promoting seemingly fake giveaways that would give viewers information to recruiters.
The measure was introduced as an amendment to the House Appropriations bill that is in the very early steps of setting the Pentagon’s budget, and the amendment could be removed at any time. The committee next meets during the week of July 27. The budget will get reworked multiple times by the House before being voted on, at which point it moves to the Senate, so there is no guarantee that AOC’s amendment will remain in the bill. It does show that the military’s controversial usage of Twitch is, at some level, on the federal government’s radar.
Twitch itself has been the subject of recent criticism for releasing a Black Lives Matter video featuring primarily white streamers and for saying that the G in LGBTQIA+ stood for “gamer.”
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