Twitch removes every member of its Safety Advisory Council

Twitch signed up cyberbullying experts, web researchers and community members back in 2020 to form the Safety Advisory Council. The review board was formed to help it draft new policies, develop products that improve safety and protect the interests of marginalized groups. Now, CNBC reports that the streaming website has terminated all the members of the council. Twitch reportedly called the nine members into a meeting on May 6 to let them know that their existing contracts would end on May 31 and that they would not be getting paid for the second half of 2024.

The Safety Advisory Council’s members include Dr. Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyber Bullying Research Center, and Dr. T.L. Taylor, the co-founder and director of AnyKey, an organization that advocates for inclusion and diversity in video games and esports. There’s also Emma Llansó, the director of the Free Expression Project for the Center for Democracy and Technology.

In an email sent to the members, Twitch reportedly told them that going forward, “the Safety Advisory Council will primarily be made up of individuals who serve as Twitch Ambassadors.” The Amazon subsidiary didn’t mention any names, but it describes its Ambassadors as people who “positively contribute to the Twitch community — from being role models for their community, to establishing new content genres, to having inspirational stories that empower those around them.”

In a statement sent to The Verge, Twitch trust and safety communications manager Elizabeth Busby said that the new council members will “offer [the website] fresh, diverse perspectives” after working with the same core members for years. “We’re excited to work with our global Twitch Ambassadors, all of whom are active on Twitch, know our safety work first hand, and have a range of experiences to pull from,” Busby added.

It’s unclear if the Ambassadors taking the current council members’ place will get paid or if they’re expected to lend their help to the company for free. If it’s the latter, then this development could be a cost-cutting measure: The outgoing members were paid between $10,000 and $20,000 a year, CNBC says. Back in January, Twitch also laid off 35 percent of its workforce to “cut costs” and to “build a more sustainable business.” In the same month, it reduced how much streamers make from every Twitch Prime subscription they generate, as well.

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