Gaming

Facebook wants to help Black gamers become full-time streamers

Take note, Twitch.

African american man in vr glasses, watching 360 degree video with virtual reality headset isolated on black background
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Facebook is launching a Black Gaming Creators Program in order to help Black gamers turn their gaming streams into full-time gigs. The company will contribute $10 million over the next two years to increase mentorship and partner status opportunities for Facebook Gaming members. The program includes monthly pay, the ability to monetize streams, and will be granted on the basis of the quality of streaming as well as how large a streamer's audience is.

"We want to give back to our amazing gaming community and invest into the dreams of our future Black Gaming creators through our new Black Gaming Creator Program," the company has announced. In the recent past, Facebook announced it would give $200 million to Black-owned companies.

Better than Twitch — KingRichard, who left Twitch for Facebook Gaming, explained the project has a mission "designed to help people make the transition into full-time streaming, which is something that's extremely hard." There is a lot of learning material for Twitch here. The streaming platform unfortunately stumbled over its initial steps to improve race-related interactions on the network during this summer when Black Lives Matter protests broke out over George Floyd's death at the hands of the police.

As Input previously reported, Twitch's Black Lives Matter video ironically enough showcased mostly white streamers. This combined with 2018 data that noted that the overwhelming majority of streamers and viewers were white was a little too on the nose, even by Twitch's standards. The streaming network is already plagued with reports of harassment and targeted attacks based on race. One of its major streamers ZombaeKillz became a victim of harassment, as Kotaku notes, which the gamer says is still unresolved on Twitch's part.

In a statement to Kotaku, ZombaeKillz said that Twitch had yet to do anything about the harassment campaign. "A staffer [header of diversity and inclusion] just told me to up my mod settings and expressed they were sad it was happening to me," the streamer said. Facebook's program is not going to magically fix the issue of racism within the gaming community. The rot may never end. But the company certainly is providing some material assistance in a landscape where peers like Twitch have relied on pleasant optics alone.