Controversial Democratic representative from New York Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez recently proposed an amendment that would have prevented the US Army and Navy from using their budget to advertise on the popular streaming platform, Twitch.
Cortez had proposed an amendment to H.R. 7617, a bill for “making appropriations for the Department of Defense for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021, and for other purposes.”
Her amendment would prohibit “the use of funds for military recruitment via Twitch and e-sports activities.”
Speaking with Vice about the amendment, Ocasio-Cortez stated, “It’s incredibly irresponsible for the Army and the Navy to be recruiting impressionable young people and children via live streaming platforms. War is not a game, and the Marine Corps’ decision not to engage in this recruiting tool should be a clear signal to the other branches of the military to cease this practice entirely.”
She would also take to the floor to argue for her amendment saying, “Right now currently, children on platforms such as Twitch are bombarded with banner ads that link to recruitment sign-up forms that can be submitted by children as young as 12-years-old.”
She added, “These are not educational outreach programs, but recruitment forms for the military.”
.@AOC: Children on platforms such as Twitch are bombarded with banners ads that link to military recruitment sign up forms that can be submitted by children as young as 12 years old. pic.twitter.com/9N7u2R9TjN
— Public Citizen (@Public_Citizen) July 30, 2020
Cortez’s amendment came after it was reported by The Nation that the U.S. Army had banned their writer Jordan Uhl, who claimed the United States had committed numerous war crimes.
Uhl would also claim the U.S. military was using Twitch to target “children in unstable and/or disadvantaged situations.” He added, “Recruiters take advantage of the poor seeking steady income, the vulnerable longing for stability, and the undocumented living in fear because of their citizenship status.”
The Nation writer would also report that the U.S. Army’s Twitch channel was running giveaways, but makes no mention of the odds, number of winners, or when winners will be chosen.
Responding to this report, a Twitch spokesperson told Kotaku, “Per our Terms of Service, promotions on Twitch must comply with all applicable laws.”
They added, “This promotion did not comply with our Terms, and we have required them to remove it.”
An Army representative issued their own response to Kotaku, “Each giveaway has its own URL and marketing activity code that directly connect the registrant to the specific giveaway.”
They added, “An eligible winner is selected at random, and the prize is given out. Twitch asked our team to remove the giveaway for lack of transparency, and they did. The team is exploring options to use platforms for giveaways that will provide more external clarity.”
ESports reporter Rod Breslau would follow that up and indicated that the Army paused their Twitch activity.
He wrote, “new: sources tell me 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 according to one email seen.”
He added, “While there is no official time frame for a return of the US Army across social media or on their Twitch channel, official marketing activations may not see a return until all the way in Spring 2021.”
In a subsequent tweet he added, “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.”
Leading up to the vote on her amendment Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter, where she wrote, “Imagine trying to explain to your colleagues who are members of Congress what Twitch is.”
She added, “Some context for a few folks getting upset at this: Congress is voting on legislation regarding Twitch today. It’s totally fine if you don’t know what Twitch is. But tech literacy is becoming an growing need in Congress so we can legislate to protect people’s privacy, etc.”
She continued, “When our legislative bodies aren’t sufficiently responsive to tech, then that means we don’t have the tools required to protect people.”
“This is partially why companies know way more about you than you may even be aware of – bc it’s legal, and Congress is struggling to keep up,” Ocasio-Cortez added.
On July 30th, the United States House of Representatives voted against Ocasio-Cortez’s amendment.
The amendment vote had 126 Yea (all democrats), 292 Nay (103 democrats, 188 republicans, 1 independent), and 13 Non-Voting (3 democrats, 10 republicans).
Immediately, following the vote she would write, “The good news: a majority of the Dem party supported this amendment. That’s a really solid start for this being the first time this issue has been brought before Congress.”
She added, “We’ve made great strides since *that* Senate FB hearing, but we’ve got a lot of room to still improve!”
Currently, both the United States Army and Navy continue to have a relationship with Twitch.
What do you think? Is the military taking advantage of young Twitch viewers?
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