Twitch will let streamers block banned users from watching streams

Twitch's chat ban tools have been around for ages, but the platform is about to hand streamers a way to control who can watch a stream to begin with.

In Twitch's latest episode of Patch Notes, its monthly product update show, the company announced that it would soon let streamers block banned users from watching streams. If moderators or streamers enable the feature, banned users will be booted not only out of chat but out of a livestream itself in real time.

When it rolls out within the next few weeks, the new anti-harassment feature will also become a built-in part of Twitch's blocking tools, with blocked users automatically prevented from viewing a stream.

When dealing with banned users, the feature won't be enabled by default, but streamers will be able to toggle the option within moderation settings. In the Patch Notes stream, Twitch Senior Product Manager Trevor Fisher explained that the long-requested safety addition is a first step toward what could be a more robust solution down the road.

"We've gotten a lot of feedback over the years, to be honest, that people want their channel bans to do more," Fisher said.

The new option will obviously have workarounds, as it only prevents logged-in blocked or banned users from watching a stream. Twitch will stop short of IP blocking for now and has no other obvious way of keeping tabs of logged-out users.

The feature also won't stop unwanted viewers from watching VODs, highlights and clips for now, though Twitch plans to add that capability in time.

"This is something where we’ve kind of had to make a lot of incremental progress," Fisher said.