U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced yesterday that she plans on filing a measure to prevent the US Army from recruiting using livestreaming platforms like Twitch. This comes hot on the heels of the Army quietly retreating from Twitch, after a backlash over their use of the platform for recruiting efforts.
As Vice first reported yesterday, AOC filed a draft amendment to the House Appropriations bill on July 22. The amendment would prevent the Army from using funds appropriated by the bill to "maintain a presence on Twitch.com or any video game, e-sports, or live-streaming platform."
Speaking to Motherboard, Ocasio-Cortez said that "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."
Earlier that same day, Kotaku reported that the Army had quietly decided to retreat from Twitch, after banning viewers for repeatedly asking about war crimes and hosting giveaways which actually lead viewers to a recruitment page for the Army. This comes from an email from someone close to the Army, which Kotaku has seen, saying the Army might not resume activity on livestreaming platforms until at least Spring 2021. AOC's proposed amendment would prevent the Army from returning.
As of right now, the US Army hasn't hosted a livestream on Twitch in almost two weeks. Their productions have been heavily criticized by many, including the ACLU, who stated that banning users who asked about the Army's war crimes was unconstitutional.
While the Army has quietly pulled out of Twitch, the US Navy remains undeterred. Their last livestream on Twitch took place late last night on July 22, and they've certainly showed no signs of following in the Army's steps and bowing out of Twitch, despite employing similar recruitment tactics through giveaways and banning users for mentioning war crimes.
As Vice's article notes, Ocasio-Cortez's proposed measure has a long way to go until it's potentially implemented in the House Appropriations bill. Its first hurdle comes from the House Appropriations Committee on Rules, which meets next week on July 27 to decide which proposed amendments will go forward.
The House will then write one finalized version of the budget, which has to go through multiple select committees before being voted on by the House, before the Senate gets involved in voting on the bill. Ocasio-Cortez's measure could falter at any stage, but we'll be reporting back on future developments on the measure.
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