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One of the more surprising additions to the weird world of IRL Twitch streaming is bounty hunting.
Although somewhat new ground, the subcategory of live streaming violates none of Twitch’s terms of service or community guidelines and has found a home in the ‘’Just Chatting” section of the website. The practice seems to be allowed under the rationale that these are professional bounty hunters simply streaming their work instead of streamers newly taking up bounty hunting. So this is more of a do-it-yourself Dog the Bounty Hunter situation rather than Twitch streaming straight-up vigilantism.
The practice is niche but growing. Twitch streamer StephenIRL is a prominent figure in the bounty hunting streaming community and recently had a few clips of his exploits go viral.
“Warrant services! You need to come out with your hands up!” shouts Stephen as he kicks in a locked door while pursuing a target to thousands of viewers live.
This clip shows an interaction between Stephen, his partner, and the woman who they just caught. After detaining the target for a bounty and taking her to what appears to be a police station, Stephen chats with the detainee. He questions why she ran inside and locked her door rather than simply getting the whole ordeal over with.
The detainee then reveals that she didn’t even realize they were bounty hunters and ran inside because of the color of Stephen’s partner’s skin. “She saw a Black guy, so she shut the door,” Stephen says as he and his partner laugh about the situation. “See? I should have just went by myself!” he jokes. “I wouldn’t have had to kick a door down.”
The clips perfectly encapsulate this subcategory of streaming and are emblematic of the bold new directions Twitch seems to be going in.
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Ignacio Martinez is a journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin and an intern at the Daily Dot. His work has appeared in the Texas Observer and on the airwaves at KVRX 91.7 FM.