During the past year Twitch has seen huge growth, fueled by an IRL section that has controversially featured girls bearing eye-popping assets. Although the company has banned a few users for violating its terms of service, it's been inconsistent, leading some to believe that it's happy with using the popularity of "bikini streamers" to bring in traffic.
That (seemingly) ends today with the publishing of a community guidelines update. After offering some background information and talking about harassment and hate-speech, it directly tackled the topic of twerk-happy girls that have made its IRL section a go-to for young people who have no idea what a cam site is.
In the post, it states the following:
Twitch is an open global community with users of many ages and cultures. Because of this, it’s important that your content is not sexual in nature. We’re updating our moderation framework to review your conduct in its entirety when evaluating if the intent is to be sexually suggestive. We’ll be looking at contextual elements such as the stream title, camera angles, emotes, panels, attire, overlays, and chat moderation. Offering access to prohibited sexual content such as “lewds” on Twitch remains prohibited.
Attire in gaming streams, most at-home streams, and all profile/channel imagery should be appropriate for a public street, mall, or restaurant. As a reminder, we will not tolerate using this policy as a basis to harass streamers on or off Twitch, regardless of whether you think they’re breaking this rule.
Presumably, it'll take a hard stance going forward that will enforce the laws of the land as they were meant to be, and will once again reign in the focus of the website to be about video games, going as far as starting the post with, "Twitch began with a single core idea: stream video games online".
The argument against pushing further into stripper territory is that most advertisers don't want their brands affiliated with sexual content. Although Twitch makes a fair share of its money from subscriptions, a notable portion of its cash flows are from advertiser-oriented deals. Chances are it's been having conversations with these brands, and they aren't happy.
Twitch staff took some time out today to chat about its blog post in a live talk show. During the show it mentioned that using the word "camgirl" counts as harassment, and will be a bannable offense going forward.
On another note, yours truly here at eBaum's World Gaming began livestreaming on Twitch last month. We stream at least twice a week, so be sure to check us out and come chat!