U.S. Army and Navy Can

U.S. Army and Navy Can't Ban Twitch Users Based on Viewpoint

Practice suppresses “core political speech” and violates the First Amendment

On July 22, 2020, the Knight Institute sent a letter to the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy Recruiting Commands demanding that they cease banning individuals from their respective esports Twitch channels, @USArmyEsports and @AmericasNavy, on the basis of viewpoint. The Institute sent the letter on behalf of Jordan Uhl, a Twitch user who was banned after he asked questions about U.S. war crimes in chats associated with those channels.

On August 5, 2020, the U.S. Army sent the Institute a letter stating that it had unbanned Mr. Uhl. And on August 6, 2020, the U.S. Navy sent a letter explaining that it had posted new policies governing its Twitch channel and that it intended to reinstate Mr. Uhl and all other previously banned users. 

Subsequent press reports confirm that both the Army and Navy have reinstated banned users and both have issued new policies governing their Twitch channels. 

Press Statements