The U.S. military’s eSports team has lifted a ban on Twitch users who have been blocked for questioning U.S. war crimes and said they will soon return to Twitch,media reported. In a statement provided to The Verge, a military spokesman said its e-sports team would “restore access to accounts previously blocked for harassment and insults” and said the military was reviewing and clarifying policies and procedures for streaming media.
The eSports agency suspended Twitch’s streaming service last month after being accused of banning users. The agency said it would resume the Twitch streaming service in the near future, but a date has not yet been set.
In recent months, the U.S. military’s use of e-sports as a recruitment tool has come under close scrutiny. Reports say the U.S. military’s e-sports channel used misleading prize giveaways to push users to recruitment pages and how viewers were banned from asking military video sites about war crimes committed by the U.S. military.
This last point has led to complaints from free speech advocates that video game streams run by the U.S. military are the same as any other public forum regulated by the government and must uphold First Amendment principles. “Under the Constitution, the Army and Navy cannot delete comments or ban people from the Twitch channel simply because they ask questions they don’t want to solve,” Katie Fallow, a lawyer for the First Amendment Institute at Kinight, said in a statement. “
Last month, the institute wrote to the U.S. Army and Navy’s e-competition teams asking them to lift the ban on users and issue clear policies for their accounts. The institute has previously accused President Donald Trump of blocking critics on Twitter for the same reason. In the end, the institute won the case, and the president was forced to lift the block ingons of dozens of users.