AOC Wants to Ban Military From Recruiting on Gaming Platforms
After a week of controversy surrounding the military’s questionable recruitment tactics on Twitch and potential violation of viewers’ first amendment rights, representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has filed a draft amendment to the House’s 2021 spending bill that bars the military from using the funds for their presence on “Twitch.com or any video game, e-sports, or live-streaming platform.”
“It’s incredibly irresponsible for the Army and the Navy to be recruiting impressionable young people and children via live streaming platforms," Ocasio-Cortez told Vice’s Motherboard. "War is not a game, and the Marine Corps’ decision not to engage in this recruiting tool should be a clear signal to the other branches of the military to cease this practice entirely.”
Last week, The Nation reported that gamers affiliated with the Army, Navy, and Air Force were using Twitch, a live-streaming website with a focus on gaming, to recruit players as young as 13 years old. In one instance, those tuning in to the Army’s channel were presented with the opportunity to win an Xbox Elite Series 2. However, when curious participants clicked on the link, they were reportedly directed to a recruiting form with no mention of the prize.
Some were also outraged by the treatment of a reporter for The Nation, Jordan Uhl, who says he was banned from the Army’s Twitch channel for mentioning U.S. war crimes in the chat.
“Was I undiplomatic? Sure,” he wrote in an article. “But if the military is going to use one of the world’s most popular platforms to recruit kids, then it shouldn’t be able to do so without some pushback.”
Columbia University‘s Knight First Amendment Institute has sent a letter to the Army and Navy demanding they stop banning mentions of war crimes. Ocasio-Cortez is taking things a step further, but a rule banning the military from things like Twitch has to pass a number of hurdles before it would go into effect. The budget will go through multiple committees before moving to the Senate.