Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) is what we like to call ‘down with the kids’, she frequently engages with gamers and tech enthusiasts alike on Twitter, even showing off her Animal Crossing world. It also seems like she’s a keen Twitch.tv viewer and has been shocked with what she’s been seeing – the U.S. Military attempting to recruit through the platform via streams and ads.
AOC was so taken back that she formed an amendment that was taken to a House vote on Thursday which, if passed, would stop the military from using platforms like Twitch as a method of recruitment.
“War is not a game,” Ocasio-Cortez stated before the vote took place. “This amendment is specifically to block funding for recruitment practices on services such as Twitch.tv, which are live streaming platforms largely populated by children well under the age of military recruitment rules…currently, children on platforms such as Twitch are bombarded with banner ads linked to recruitment signup forms that can be submitted by children as young as 12 years old. These are not education outreach programs for the military.”
Sadly, this amendment was not passed, much to Ocasio-Cortez’s frustration who went onto criticize her colleague’s knowledge of the industry – “Imagine trying to explain to your colleagues who are members of Congress what Twitch is,”.
This isn’t the first time in recent weeks that the U.S. Military has come under online fire with many criticizing both their Twitch and Discord channels where posts such as what’s your “favorite w4r crime”, aimed at esports teams, saw extreme backlash. This reiterates AOC’s point of “War is not a game,” and definitely begs the question of why such a serious act is being displayed in a care-free, tongue-in-cheek manner.
Even though Ocasio-Cortez’s motion failed to pass in the House, it seems the U.S. Army is, in fact, retreating from Twitch with a U.S. Army spokesperson reaching out to Gamespot:
“The team has paused streaming to review internal policies and procedures, as well as all platform-specific policies, to ensure those participating in the space are clear before streaming resumes,”
Gaming platforms like Twitch where the predominant viewer base is between 12-18 years of age really shouldn’t be the place where the U.S. Military is trying to recruit. It almost seems like they’re leveraging games like Call of Duty to entice the public to sign up, and no matter how realistic the game is, it’ll be starkly different from real life in which younger individuals may not be able to comprehend. We hope the U.S. Military learns from this and continues to retreat from these sites.