Many Twitch users are criticizing the platform for including several controversial groups in the list of organizations eligible for fundraising through its Charity Tool.
The platform announced the expansion of its tool, which allows creators to set goals and offer incentives for donations for fundraising streams, last week. The list expanded from 250 organizations to over 95,000. Unlike with its maligned revenue sharing policy, which determines how streamers and Twitch divide the revenue from paid subscriptions, Twitch does not take a cut of the money raised from charity streams.
“More charities means more charity, right?” Twitch wrote in a blog post Wednesday, noting that all organizations on its list are “PayPal-vetted.”
But the announcement, while welcomed by some, was met with backlash by others.
"Disgusting," one Twitter user wrote in response to the announcement. "Vet your 'charities'."
Twitch removed the organization LGB Alliance on Monday. The platform also removed the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a spokesperson for Twitch confirmed to NBC News on Wednesday.
Twitch partners with the PayPal Giving Fund, the spokesperson said, which vets organizations based on charitable status and compliance with PayPal's policies. Twitch may review individual organizations that have already been vetted by PayPal to ensure that they are compliant with Twitch's own policies, and may remove them from its Charity Tool.
On Monday, Twitch responded to the backlash specifically surrounding LGB Alliance, confirming it has removed the organization from its charity list.
The original poster accused Twitch of “advocating for the genocide of transgender people” by including LGB Alliance in its charity list. The British group has advocated against trans rights in the United Kingdom, and LGBTQ rights groups have lobbied to strip it of its charitable status.
"Following a thorough review, we have removed the LGB Alliance from our list of approved charities," Twitch wrote in its response to a Uservoice post about the subject, adding that it "does not allow charities that violate our hateful conduct policies on Twitch, or whose organization or leadership engage in or promote behaviors that violate our Off-Service policy."
The Off-Service policy covers “severe offenses committed by Twitch users” that “can create a substantial safety risk to the Twitch community.” Offenses can include making credible threats of mass violence, being involved in known hate groups and spreading harmful misinformation.
A spokesperson for Twitch said that the United Daughters of the Confederacy was removed for violating the platform’s community guidelines. The spokesperson could not comment on the specific Twitch policies that the group violated.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The news comes as many creators online continue to raise their concerns over other organizations on the list.
“Twitch has removed the LGB Alliance from their charity list, which is good,” a Twitter user wrote Monday. “However, I’m disappointed by the second part of this response, & that multiple other hate groups such as Autism Speaks & Daughters of the Confederacy remain. Do the rest, @Twitch, & stop making excuses.”
Autism Speaks has been criticized for further stigmatizing autism and promoting therapy tactics that many advocates say are harmful toward autistic people. The original poster described it as a “hate group that spreads misinformation."
When asked for comment regarding the backlash from some Twitch users, a spokesperson for Autism Speaks did not address the backlash directly, but issued a statement regarding its mission.
The organization "focused on supporting autistic people of all levels of need, so that ultimately, they can live lives of their choosing," the spokesperson said in an email statement to NBC News.
"Autism Speaks is proud to have the opportunity to reach individuals who are passionate about fueling its mission to support autistic people of all ages and levels of support and their families," the statement continued.
The statement said that the organization is "committed to fostering opportunities that can have widespread, meaningful impact" through "increasing understanding and acceptance," advancing research into "causes and better interventions" and providing accessible services to autistic people and their families."
The scale of this program may mean that people within our community may not agree with or support all of the included organizations, even if they are currently compliant with our policies.
In a separate response to a Uservoice post from November, which specifically requested that Twitch remove Autism Speaks from the list, Twitch said, "At this time, this organization does not violate our Off-Service policy."
Twitch said its "goal is to provide streamers with a wide variety of charitable organizations and enable them to decide who to support," adding, "The scale of this program may mean that people within our community may not agree with or support all of the included organizations, even if they are currently compliant with our policies."
"Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement from Twitch," it said. "However, we regularly review the list and remove organizations that violate our policies."
Twitch tweeted that with its expanded Charity Tool, it wants creators to feel they can “easily support even more of the causes you care about around the world, without Twitch taking a cut.”
"For streamers, it makes raising money for important causes easier and transparent," Twitch said of the tool in its blog post. "For viewers, it should make supporting those causes simpler, clearer, and more impactful."