Twitch get into a lather about people streaming from hot tubs, but is it a battle they can win?
Twitch has addressed the issue of hot tub streamers on the platform, a new trend that’s causing plenty of controversy.
Take a look at the “Just Chatting” section of Twitch, and you won’t need to scroll far to find hot tub streamers. Typically, these are women who spend time on stream in hot tubs, offering rewards for subscriptions.
The views and follows of these streamers are incredibly high and they tend to receive extreme reactions, at both ends of the spectrum.
With such popularity the chat often gets explicit, even if the streamer’s content isn’t, which sees moderators working overtime to remove messages.
At the other end, many dedicated gaming streamers are angry at this content supposedly taking views from (perceived) more serious and less suggestive streams.
Twitch addressed the issue in their new Let’s Chat series where they will regularly speak on key issues across the platform.
Twitch’s Marcus “djWHEAT” Graham hosted a video on 28 April where the “hot tub meta” was discussed.
“We have been watching closely,” he said.
“Our nudity and attire policy does allow bathing suits in an appropriate context and hot tubs do fall under that criteria.
“However what has not changed is the sexually suggestive and explicit content is not allowed under the guidelines, under the TOS, and Twitch will take action when that is reported to us.”
He continued: “I understand that people are upset about some of the content that might be out there.
“We think it is important for you to be able to control the content that you see.”
He then went on to explain how users can click “not interested” to remove specific content from their feed, from individual streamers to entire categories.
However, this doesn’t solve the issue. For starters, with all hot tub streams taking place in the Just Chatting category, there’s no easy way of removing only those streams from feeds.
Moreover, should this fall on users to opt out of the type of content they see on their feed? Or should Twitch clamp down on this type of content?
Above all, if these streamers aren’t violating Twitch terms of service, are hot tub streamers clever or exploitative?
Many streamers have taken a stand on both sides of the debate.
Popular streamer xQc recently hit out at the issue, describing it as “by far the most pathetic thing we’ve seen on Twitch” in a tweet.
IM GONNA BE HONNEST, THIS HOT TUB META IS BY FAR THE MOST PATHETIC THING WE'VE SEEN ON TWITCH IN FOREVER. WHAT A SAD REALITY. PLEASE GET THIS TRASH OFF THE FRONTPAGE
— xQc (@xQc) April 19, 2021
YouTuber Valkyrae, meanwhile, has defended hot tub streamers.
“Why are you so angry? It works for a reason. It’s free for you. You don’t have to donate or subscribe. Isn’t this a good thing? Isn’t that what men want to see for free,” she said on her livestream.
“If no one’s hurting anyone, what’s the issue?”
Pokimane, meanwhile, noted Twitch’s lack of clarity around the rules. She didn’t ask for a ban, but she did suggest that human moderators should be involved due to streamers frequently pushing the limits of Twitch’s terms of service.
“People toe the line so much that you need to have someone who can just, as a human, go to a stream and be like, ah, this is suggestive, and do something about that. That doesn’t mean a ban. But do something about that so that it’s not just suggestive streams that kind of take over the whole platform,” she said.
The debate has been taken to a new level with streamers openly mocking hot tub streams. JakenbakeLIVE, for instance, streamed from a hot tub in a wig alongside popular hot tub streamer indiefoxx, with subscriber goals to get his makeup done and wear a bikini.
Or there was shaperka who streamed in a paddling pool dressed as a Magikarp from Pokémon.
It’s clear that there is major concern about hot tub streamers on Twitch. The platform might be known primarily for gaming, but there’s a wealth of diverse content available.
Suggestive hot tub streams might not be violating rules, but they certainly push the boundaries of acceptable content.
At the end of the day, it’s on Twitch to set those boundaries to ensure that streamers on either side of the debate have their content protected, before the issue gets even more out of hand.
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