Update: The introduced measure to the bill has failed in the House of Representatives.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ measure took the first hurdle at the House Appropriations Committee meeting on July 27, but it did not reach a majority in the House of Representatives on July 30. 67 Representatives voted in favor, while 158 voted against as 206 abstained. Although Ocasio-Cortez was disappointed she still reacted positively to it:
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.
We’ve made great strides since *that* Senate FB hearing, but we’ve got a lot of room to still improve!
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) July 30, 2020
While the legislation against army involvement in gaming and streaming failed, the American military has temporarily paused their activities and has not announced when and how they will resume them.
Original article from July 23:
The U.S. Army and Navy have recently increased their efforts to establish a presence on Twitch and the wider gaming world.
However their attempts to enter the gaming scene were rather unsuccessful so far. First they made headlines by heavy-handed moderation on their Twitch channel and Discord server. Their bans of users, who asked about U.S. war crimes, led to several non-governmental organisations heavily criticizing a potential violation of the first amendment.
us navy esports team twitch chat ban speedrun pic.twitter.com/LmYtWL2A0q
— jordan (@JordanUhl) July 18, 2020
Shortly after the U.S. Army Twitch channel came under fire as a giveaway was revealed to be a hoax that led to a recruitment form instead. Twitch later required the U.S. Army to take down the giveaway links as they violated the Twitch terms of service.
Legislation against the U.S. Army on Twitch?
In the wake of these actions it comes to little surprise that some legislators have also taken notice. Democratic Party U.S. congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for New York has now submitted a measure that would prevent the military from using video games, esports or streaming platforms as military recruitment tools. However the House Appropriations bill to which she submitted the measure still has a long way to go in the legislation process. The first hurdle for the measure is the House Appropriations Committee meeting on July 27, which decides whether or not pending amendments will go forward.
Ocasio-Cortez also said the following in a statement to VICE’s Motherboard: “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.”
Since those incidents the U.S. Military has indefinitely suspended their Twitch activities as Insider Rod “Slasher” Breslau reports:
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
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) July 22, 2020
Should the measure pass through the entire process the U.S Armed Forces and all its branches would have to retreat from the entire gaming and esports industry. Besides their Twitch channels they have also sponsored tournaments and started cooperations with teams such as Evil Geniuses.
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