Corporations are continually pushing the limits on becoming the social justice police of users’ behavior even when they do or say things completely unrelated to the company’s product. In this case, Jagex permanently banned a player from Runescape because he joked to a suicidal person about killing themselves on a Twitch stream.
The Quartering posted a tweet about the company’s permanent punishment.
Runescape is now banning players for out of game actions… pic.twitter.com/PpO1Yi1WYM
— TheQuartering (@TheQuartering) January 28, 2019
The link to the forum reveals that the action was taken back on January 21st, 2019 in a thread called “Re[garding] Recent Events on Twitch”.
Mod Shauny informed the community about the actions they were taking against the user Aus Swag, by writing…
“This morning we became aware that over the weekend a RuneScape player had live streamed himself calling a vulnerable individual who had admitted they were having suicidal thoughts, telling that person to kill themselves. The RuneScape player is not someone with whom Jagex has – or ever had – a business relationship but given the incredibly serious nature of the incident we have taken measures that make it clear such behaviour will not be tolerated.
“As a result, the individual has had their RuneScape account permanently banned with immediate effect. Jagex is incredibly passionate about mental health and wellbeing, and we will continue to do all we can to help those in our community – and beyond – receive the support they need to overcome the mental health challenges they face in their day-to-day lives.”
Aus Swag was also permanently banned from Twitch.
He attempted to explain himself by posting a video apologizing to the girl on the receiving end of his “joke”, and clarified what happened.
He also posted an apology on Twitter and a donation to the Beyond Blue depression organization. The tweet starts by simply saying “I’m sorry”.
Im Sorry. pic.twitter.com/HZ9Kt3FJQ0
— Aus Swag (@SwagAus) January 21, 2019
If you’re unable to read the message in the tweet, it states…
“First off I’d like to say that I am sincerely sorry for my actions last night on stream.
“For those who don’t yet know, I had called a girl who is suicidal and said “I think you should kys” which was a careless attempt at a joke. When doing this I had my phone’s microphone muted because I never intended to try and put her or anyone else at risk. […] This does not excuse what I said and I’ve been fairly punished by both Twitch and Jagex.
“In reality it isn’t something to joke or laugh about and the actions of myself and the people who were in the discord call were reprehensible and not a true representation of my community.
“I had started streaming again later on in the day when the situation was receiving a lot of publicity and I did not take the situation as serious as I should have which only made it worse.
“I understand that suicide is a truly serious issue and has a widespread effect on everyone.
“I have since made a donation to https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ and I encourage everyone to support this cause.”
Regardless of his efforts to make amends for what could be deemed by the corporate overlords as social transgressions, he was still banned from the services.
A lot of the people in the Jagex thread cheered on the company for permanently banning someone for something they said off-platform.
Few of them had the intelligence or education to think about the ramifications of a corporation policing your civil behavior unrelated to the service. Aus Swag was not an employee of Jagex.
Twitch definitely had the right to ban him since he was using their platform when he made the joke, and there is an actual section in the guideline that prohibits that kind of talk. In the “Hateful Conduct and Harassment” section of the Community Guidelines, it states…
“Hateful conduct is any content or activity that promotes, encourages, or facilitates discrimination, denigration, objectification, harassment, or violence based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, medical condition, physical characteristics, or veteran status, and is prohibited. Any hateful conduct is considered a zero-tolerance violation and all accounts associated with such conduct will be indefinitely suspended.
“Harassment is any content or activity that attempts to intimidate, degrade, abuse, or bully others, or creates a hostile environment for others, and is prohibited. Depending on the severity of the offense, your account may be indefinitely suspended on the first violation.
“We prohibit using Twitch to facilitate hateful conduct or harassment, whether the targets are on or off Twitch. Individuals, communities or organizations that do so are not allowed to use our services. We may take action against users for hateful conduct or harassment that occurs off Twitch services that is directed at Twitch users.”
Twitch banning users for off-site conduct is nothing new, and was made a part of their guidelines when Blizzard Entertainment also updated its guidelines where the company would also be banning players for off-site behavior.
Whether you like the rules or not, they are there. However, Jagex does not have those rules in place for Runescape.
If you visit the Rules page, you’ll note that there’s nothing in the rules that says Jagex will permanently ban you for off-site behavior, for telling rude jokes on Discord, or what’s said on Twitch. In fact, the rules explicitly state that the inappropriate language rule only applies to what’s said in the game chat…
“Players of RuneScape come from all around the world and from a range cultural and religious backgrounds. Our mission is to create a fun and engaging game for all our players, therefore language that is considered offensive, racist, obscene or otherwise inappropriate should not be used in chat or as a username.”
The fact that some gamers are supporting Jagex in clearly overstepping their bounds continues to set a dangerous precedent for behavioral policing from corporations.
(Thanks for the news tip Ebicentre)
(Thanks for the news tip SirXlus)