During TwitchCon 2019, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear took to the stage to address the controversy surrounding the company's inconsistent moderation policies. At the time he admitted that "We haven't always been consistent in our enforcement in the past."
This news came as a surprise to absolutely no one as he reassured viewers that the company has a "Head of Trust and Safety" and is "building up to consistently and fairly apply the rules all over Twitch." We were also promised transparency in the wordiest interview we've ever seen which somehow manages to say virtually nothing.
Now that a couple of months have passed, the question is: are streamers being treated more fairly? To explore this, we've rounded up stories of the bans and potential breach of service incidents we've seen since TwitchCon took place at the end of September, detailing the streamer, channel size, offense, and punishment.
Streamer: Velvet 7 Size of Channel: 93k+ Offense: Unknown, but both bans confirmed to be "a Twitch error." Consequence: 5 week ban, followed by a short ban while streaming, less than a week later.
Streamer: Brad Radke Size of Channel: 500+ Offense: Played Call of Duty with WWE Superstar Randy Orton who used a racial slur while live. Consequence: None.
Streamer: Knut Spildrejorde Size of Channel: 90k+ Offense: Unknown, but likely to be hate speech for offensive comments made during broadcast. Consequence: 30 day ban.
Streamer: Unknown Size of Channel: 0 Offense: Inappropriate violent content. Consequence: Channel removed.
Streamer: Tfue Size of Channel: 11.4M+ Offense: Broke a keyboard over his knee to protest Dellor's ban. Consequence: None known.
Streamer: ExoHydraX Size of Channel: Approx 24k+ Offense: "Suggestive clothing." Consequence: Permanent ban, now appears to be back on a new channel.
Streamer: Alinity Size of Channel: 994k+ Offense: A wardrobe malfunction that resulted in prolonged underwear flashing. Consequence: None known.
During October, we yet again saw more inconsistency and errors, with the largest error being the back to back bans faced by Velvet_7 for doing absolutely nothing.
In terms of inconsistency, we see small streamer ExoHydraX permanently banned for showing some cleavage, followed by the total lack of consequences (yet again) for Twitch's favorite Alinity, who repeatedly flashed her underwear on stream.
The banning of Dellor for breaking a keyboard, something he has repeatedly done many times before, is another example of Twitch enforcing rules streamers are struggling to understand or are unaware of.
Streamer: Khanada Size of Channel: 74k+ Offense: Streaming with banned player Zayn, leaving him unmuted for half the stream. Consequence: 3 day ban.
Streamer: Viperous Size of Channel: 13k+ Offense: "Hateful Slurs" for saying the word "nerd." Consequence: 3 day ban.
Full Story: Streamer Banned On Twitch For Saying "Nerd"
Streamer: Clix Size of Channel: 526k+ Offense: Streaming with banned player Zayn, despite having him on mute and using a different nickname the entire stream. Consequence: 7 day ban, later reduced to 3 days.
Streamer: THump Size of Channel: 171k+ Offense: A subscriber of his spammed IRL channels he was watching. Consequence: 7 day ban.
Streamer: PaymoneyWubby Size of Channel: 207k+ Offense: "Invasion of privacy" for streaming in a restaurant. Consequence: 14 day ban, later reduced to 5 before a glorious comeback.
Streamer: Pokimane Size of Channel: 3.5M+ Offense: Googling "spunk" on stream, ending up displaying NSFW content. Consequence: None, although she did quickly end the stream and delete the VOD after realizing she'd been baited.
Full Story: Pokimane Risks Ban Googling Images For 'Spunk'
Streamer: Tarzaned_ Size of Channel: Unknown Offense: Toxic comments, made weeks before ban enforced. Consequence: 30 day ban.
Streamer: At-Tar-Ras Size of Channel: Unknown Offense: Reported by a "fan" using multiple accounts. Consequence: 14 day ban.
As the above incidents show, things still aren't improving over at Twitch. Consequences still being inconsistent is highlighted by Khanada and Clix receiving different consequences for the same offense.
We've also seen favoritism being argued again as Pokimane got away with her NSFW Google; although she did quickly go offline and remove the offending material before resuming her stream shortly afterward.
Finally, we see the biggest mistake of the month as PaymoneyWubby is wrongly banned and then despite him explaining to his contact and providing evidence of his innocence immediately, he had to wait 5 days to get his channel reinstated. This angered him so much he posted a huge rant over on YouTube, which talked about the consequences of these bans being freely handed out by Twitch staff.
So, Are Things Better?
In a nutshell, no. Twitch is still not maintaining consistency, while also proving the bias it has been accused of remains intact. Bans are still unpredictable and erratic and streamers are still suffering.
As we move ever closer to the new year, Twitch needs to start keeping its promises and quickly or even more streamers will no doubt be making the jump to other platforms.