Branches of the United States Military are abandoning their Twitch accounts after being accused of recruitment through gaming. Since 2019, the Army, Navy, and Air Force all have had active channels on the social streaming platform, primarily using their time to showcase off-duty soldiers playing games like Call Of Duty, Rainbow Six Siege, and CS:GO. They even have competitive esports teams for both divisions and have been sponsors of multiple events, same as how you see them with ads during NFL games and a small booth at events.
But recently these channels have been coming under fire for what appears to be shady behavior when it came to encouraging gamers who played with them and members of their chat room to enlist. What's more, there had become an increasing number of people alerting Twitch that they were being banned in their chat for criticizing the current use of the military during Black Lives Matter protests and question whether or not they believed what was happening were war crimes against U.S. citizens.
This all came to a head this past week in two separate reveals, the first being that the military actually had a guide on how to talk to people to encourage them to enlist, and the other being that recruiters were talking to kids as young as 13-years-old. By law, it is illegal for recruiters to talk to anyone about enlisting or sign them up under the age of 17, and even then, they need parental consent until the age of 18. Once the word got out, all divisions were in full retreat from the platform, but not before U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced she would be introducing legislation to defund both branches so that they could no longer maintain a presence on Twitch, or any other video game, esports or live-streaming platform.
While this has yet to be discussed, and it still needs to be passed by both the House and Senate before it can be enacted, it's pretty safe to say we won't be seeing recruitment on the platform again. However, that also means many esports organizations who were getting a sweet check from branches of the Military to run ads and be sponsors won't be seeing that money returning.