AOC proposes measure to put an end to military recruiting using esports teams, livestreaming

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., introduced a measure on Wednesday that would prohibit the military’s use of video games, esports teams, and livestreaming for recruitment.

This comes after recent controversies surrounding military esports teams. Both the Army and Navy’s esports teams were accused of violating First Amendment rights for banning commenters asking about war crimes. The Army’s team was also accused of promoting fake giveaways.

“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.

The proposed amendment to the House Appropriations bill faces a long road to be made into law. The budget written by the House will go through numerous committees and votes before being sent to the president.

The Army sees esports teams as a recruiting tactic similar to presence at sporting events and shopping malls that young people frequent.

“Army recruiters understand that in order to do their job, they must be visible where their audience resides,” Army spokesperson Lisa Ferguson told Military Times.

A member of West Point’s esports team plays Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege against competitors from Ole Miss during a Collegiate Rainbow Six match April 17. (West Point esports team)

Twitch, a video streaming platform, is one such place. The website boasts an average of 17.5 million daily visitors and more than 600 billion minutes of content watched this year.

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The Army, Navy and Air Force all have teams that post video game streams online. The Army said its account has paused streaming to review internal policies.

“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,” Ocasio-Cortez told VICE.

If successful, the amendment would prohibit the military from using congressionally appropriated funds to “maintain a presence on Twitch.com or any video game, e-sports, or live-streaming platform.”

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