Today, Twitch announced a set of emote modifiers in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month — and then it ended up pulling them before the day’s end because they were incredibly insensitive.
2020 is a year of Ls, and Twitch has taken a disproportionate number of them in the last few months. This isn’t the first time the company has had something like this happen when it was ostensibly trying to honor marginalized groups who have a large presence on the site. Back in July, the streaming platform had two similar back-to-back gaffes: the first involved LGBTQ representation and the second was about Black Lives Matter.
Twitch initially posted a video on July 5th — just after the end of Pride Month — that attempted to honor its LGBTQ creators but was widely denounced online because the site said that the “G” in LGBTQIA+ also stood for “gamer.” (I don’t even know, y’all.)
Twitch put out a video on pride and this was one of the tag lines. People are already confused about what each letter means.
It was deleted pic.twitter.com/1H7FwE8F7G
— iamBrandon (@iamBrandonTV) July 5, 2020
The company’s Black Lives Matter video, on the other hand, just didn’t feature many Black people. As Polygon put it back then: “Today’s video, which lasted for just under a minute, had one line spoken by a Black streamer. Black streamers comprised 11 seconds of the video’s run time.”
All this is despite Twitch’s very public creation of a safety and advisory council to advise the company on issues that affect the various communities across the site. So what gives?
The issues that affect the historically marginalized groups on Twitch don’t happen in a vacuum, and it’s kind of admirable that the company seems to want to care about those people on its platform. But it’s very strange to see it beef it every single time. It’s almost like it’d rather publicly take Ls than talk to any of the many, many streamers who fit into the groups the company wants to highlight and celebrate.
The FCC’s new anti-robocall rules prevent surprise charges for consumers
Back in March, the FCC ordered all carriers and phone companies to adopt the STIR/SHAKEN protocol by June 30th, 2021 as an effort to combat robocalls. Now, the commission has announced new rules to clarify carriers’ obligations regarding the technology’s implementation. One of those new rules, for instance, protects consumers from surprise charges. To be precise, it prohibits voice service providers from adding line-item charges to their bills for caller ID authentication.
The FCC is also requiring providers to upgrade their networks if they currently can’t implement STIR/SHAKEN, which is an Internet Protocol standard for IP-based networks. Otherwise, they’ll have to develop a non-IP caller ID verification solution. That said, the FCC will give small voice providers that can’t adopt the technology yet “limited extensions,” so long as they implement robocall mitigation programs.
Google Meet’s 60-minute limit on free calls won’t kick in until 2021
Google expanded Meet’s availability earlier this year to give more people access to the video chat service in the midst of coronavirus-related lockdowns. The tech giant didn’t just make it available to everyone with a Gmail account, though, it also made its premium features accessible at no cost until September 30th. One of those premium features is the ability to make unlimited calls, without which users would have to deal with a 60-minute limit per call. The good news is that free Gmail users won’t have to worry about call limits tomorrow or anytime soon: the tech giant has extended their access to unlimited Meet calls until March 31st, 2021.
In a post announcing the extension, Meet Group Product Manager Samir Pradhan said Google wants to “continue helping those who rely on Meet to stay in touch” over the holiday season, especially since not everyone can travel to be with their families and friends. The post also talks about Meet’s recent feature additions, including the ability to cast Meet calls on TV, to join calls hands-free on the Nest Hub Max and to blur backgrounds. More recently, Google has also rolled out noise cancellation for Meet on Android and iOS to filter out background sounds for those who prefer taking video calls on their mobile devices.
What's on TV: 'Super Mario,' 'Star Wars: Squadrons' and 'Walking Dead'
After the debates, there are some entertaining things to put on your TV this week. In case you missed it, we’re adding another new service to the mix with AMC+, which launches Thursday and will feature new episodes of The Walking Dead and its newest…
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