Getting Absurd: Twitch Creates A 'Hot Tub' Channel, Says It Should Have Communicated With Streamers About Demonitization

from the sigh dept

Twitch seems to be putting on some sort of master class in how to respond to a crisis on its platform in as confusing a manner as possible. Without writing a thousand word summary, this whole thing started when Twitch nuked a bunch of streamer content in response to a backlog of DMCA notices, changed its affiliate program without notice, hung its streamers out to dry over the DMCAs when the backlash occurred, and basically angered the hell out of its most important asset, it's creative community. This basically set the theme for the public that Twitch wasn't treating its community very well.

This continued to the present. Most recently, we discussed one streamer suddenly having her channel demonitized, ostensibly over so called "hot tub meta" streams, in which she appears in a bathing suit in a hot tub. While Twitch can do as it pleases with its platform, the real issue here was that all of this was done without any communication or notice from Twitch to the streamer, who goes by the handle Amouranth. Well, it turns out that she wasn't alone in having her channel suddenly demonitized in this fashion.

The company also addressed the recent controversy surrounding the sudden, uncommunicated demonetization of Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa’s channel, which took place earlier this week in reaction to complaints which Siragusa says came from from a single advertiser (Siragusa told Kotaku in an email that Twitch would not say which advertiser). Twitch’s post seems to dispute this characterization, instead attributing it to “the majority of our advertiser base.” Siragusa, however, was not alone. Sources have since told Kotaku that a number of streamers had advertising removed from their channels, though it seems that not all of them noticed or said anything publicly. This has alarmed Twitch streamers, who are now in the dark as to what’s considered advertiser-friendly content and what’s not—meaning they, too, are at risk of suddenly not being able to make money off Twitch ads anymore. In the blog post, Twitch did not do much to assuage their fears, but it did confirm that demonetization is a thing that can happen now.

“On Twitch, brands get to decide where and when their ads appear,” the company wrote. “Today, they can target or avoid specific categories of content and flag channels that don’t meet their standards. This means that Twitch, in rare cases, will suspend advertising on a channel at the advertisers’ request. We absolutely do not permit brands to use protected characteristics as a filter for advertising targeting or blocking.”

Note that this is all communication that occurred after the fact. Acknowledging that, Twitch specifically stated that the way it had treated Amouranth was a "mistake." As was the lack of communication with all of the other streamers who had their channels demonitized. As was not getting the communication about what control advertisers had over channels receiving ad revenue until after all this occurred. Mistake after mistake, all of which quite frankly appear to be conscious decisions rather than oopsies.

And, in an almost exact replication of the ready-fire-aim method Twitch employed for its DMCA debacle, the company's remedy for this now is to roll out more tools for advertisers and creators to avoid this situation that should have been avoided with those tools in the first place.

To remedy this and other issues, Twitch said it’s “working to develop more robust controls for advertisers and viewers to enable them to control their experiences on our service.” It’s also working on figuring out how to communicate to streamers what exactly “brand safe” means, but this functionality will apparently “take time to build and implement.”

The other plan Twitch has coming out of this latest situation is, and I cannot stress enough that this is real, the introduction of "hot tub" channels and the like.

In a new blog post today, Twitch announced that it has created a new category: “Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches.” Previously, hot tub streamers largely used the catch-all Just Chatting category, which led some streamers and viewers to accuse them of somehow breaking the rules—despite the fact that they were not actually breaking Twitch’s rules. In the blog post, Twitch clarified this.

“While we have guidelines about sexually suggestive content, being found to be sexy by others is not against our rules, and Twitch will not take enforcement action against women, or anyone on our service, for their perceived attractiveness,” the company wrote, adding that it discourages harassment against all streamers regardless of their actions or intentions. “Under our current Nudity & Attire and Sexually Suggestive Content policies, streamers may appear in swimwear in contextually appropriate situations (at the beach, in a hot tub, for example), and we allow creative expression like body writing and body painting, provided the streamer has appropriate coverage as outlined by our attire policy.”

So, Amouranth did nothing wrong as far as Twitch is concerned, but it still demonitized her channel at the request of "advertisers" for reasons never fully articulated, not against Twitch's rules, without notice or communication, and with an almost perfect lack of transparency. But, hey, here's a new hot tub category for you all to stream in? The only real use I see for that is I can finally pitch Mike on my idea for a speedo-clad Twitch Techdirt stream where I yell about beer trademarks in a kiddie pool.

This is where I remind you that Twitch is an Amazon property and has hefty resources to pull from to do its platform and PR right. It just doesn't seem to want to and the one left holding the proverbial bag is its creative community.

Cool.

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Filed Under: advertisers, content moderation, monetization, streaming
Companies: twitch


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 May 2021 @ 8:04pm

    Twitch is an Amazon property and has hefty resources to pull from to do its platform and PR right.

    Tim, you say that as if Amazon execs give a damn about the low end of the corporate totem pole. I think even you know better than that. 😛

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      @b, 25 May 2021 @ 8:29pm

      Re: Twitch "users"

      1) Why would Twitch/Amazon give priority to making extra "tools" that their users (customers) did not request.

      2) Are not the genuine "customers" of Twitch/ Amazon the advertisers whom pay with cash for eyeballs. Surely not the person who logins merely rich in content and eyeballs.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        @b, 25 May 2021 @ 8:31pm

        Re: Twitch "users"

        *logs in

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        j2i.net (profile), 27 May 2021 @ 5:30am

        Re: Re: Twitch "users"

        Twitch declares that the paying advertisers complained about their ads being paired with the hot tub streams. They said it was "most" of the advertisers. I don't know how to parse that out (how many advertisers do they have?). But in any case, it sounds like it was jeopardizing their money.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2021 @ 8:24pm

    is "demonitizing" a combination of "demonizing" and "demonetizing"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 May 2021 @ 8:30pm

    waits to see the test reel of speedo stream

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2021 @ 8:46pm

    not selling the "i should feel bad for amouranth" thing very well, she's a fucking millionaire, losing ads is a drop in the bucket for her.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 25 May 2021 @ 9:27pm

    If only

    there was some kind of Hot Tub time machine that people could use to go back and fix this before it became an issue.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 May 2021 @ 11:06pm

    Obvious question

    Why does nobody just set up content rating bands for the advertisers to chose from if they are that picky? Seriously this damn stupid pattern keeps on reoccuring.

    Advertisers take popular content with many viewers, fear the damage to their brand by people associating them with "offensive" content /they are fucking watching/ and proceed to straightjacket content into being PG, bland and not saying anything remotely controversial and quality declines. People head off someplace out of their meddling and then start producing better than mainstream stuff without the restrictions. Then advertisers get involved and the cycle starts anew.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Annonymouse, 26 May 2021 @ 9:48am

      Re: Obvious question

      My guess would be that the monies would then go into twitch executives pockets. A few thousand here and a few thousand there and pretty soon you are looking at some noticeable cash bonuses.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2021 @ 11:32am

        Re: Re: Obvious question

        Demonetization means no longer showing ads on it because they think birth control pharmaceutical manufacturers are afraid of exposed skin.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PatrickH, 26 May 2021 @ 1:37am

    She may not have done anything wrong as far as Twitch is concerned, but that doesn't mean advertisers want their stuff run over her content. Just look at YouTube, and all the petty sh*t advertisers say they don't want their ads on. It was only a matter of time before they demanded something similar from Twitch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2021 @ 1:53pm

      Re:

      No shit. But this is the way to handle it? For one advertiser?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        PatrickH, 27 May 2021 @ 2:19am

        Re: Re:

        She says one Twitch says more, don't know. As for handling, not great but then it never has been on anything. I am just glad they gave it a category so I can ignore it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 26 May 2021 @ 1:38am

    Well, putting all that content in one place should make future demonetization and censorship easier, as well as brigading and harassment by incels, MRA's and other insane prudes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2021 @ 3:47am

    It's simple advertisers mostly don't want ads appearing in streams that just show sexy streamers in a hot tub or on a beach.
    It's an easy solution make a new category hot tub, beach
    Advertisers can avoid it or not as they wish
    Twitch is not managed very well if you are taking someone s
    ability to show ads away you should at least tell them
    All of a sudden it was recieving 1000s of dmca notices
    It's solution tell users to delete years of content case there was music in the background

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PeterScott (profile), 26 May 2021 @ 3:59am

    Seems like a minor blip.

    This seems more in the Yawn department.

    Some advertisers didn't want to be associated with bikini channels, and there no tools for this.

    Twitch did a ham fisted reaction and demonitised these channels.

    Now the bikini channels are categorized, and advertisers can choose to advertise with them or not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      yoshijuan, 26 May 2021 @ 8:40am

      Re: Seems like a minor blip.

      That's the thing, it wasn't other channels. It was only hers, no one else's. The other hot tub streamers like indiefoxx and faith saw no demonetization. Her account manager had no idea they turned her ad monetization off.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Thad (profile), 26 May 2021 @ 9:22am

    Quick spelling correction: "monetized"/"monetization".

    There's no "i" in "money".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 26 May 2021 @ 10:12am

    You kids and your new-fangled interwebs!

    I'm unclear on a point - did they demonetize the accounts or did the advertisers pull their support of the accounts? If the advertisers no longer wish to support the account, then it is absolutely their right to not do so....I don't consider that demonetization. If the platform decided to no longer pay the account or allow anyone to advertise on it, then that would be demonetization. The article doesn't make it clear if the platform sees a difference or which of those two things happened.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2021 @ 1:54pm

      Re: You kids and your new-fangled interwebs!

      It's very clear. Twitch demonetized the channel because one out of scads of advertisers made a complaint.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2021 @ 1:57pm

    (Siragusa told Kotaku in an email that Twitch would not say which advertiser).

    The advertiser should speak up here. If they want to be known as not supporting some particular streamer or type of content, go for it.

    “On Twitch, brands get to decide where and when their ads appear,” the company wrote. “Today, they can target or avoid specific categories of content and flag channels that don’t meet their standards. This means that Twitch, in rare cases, will suspend advertising on a channel at the advertisers’ request.

    Right. So why didn't we have the one advertisers ads removed from the channel by request?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 May 2021 @ 3:59pm

    So, does everyone in the hot tub channel get demonetized then?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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