Twitch switch makes sexual content rules less of a hitch

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Twitch streaming rules.

Good news for streamers who want to show off their breasts, ass and “pelvic region” this week, when the streaming platform Twitch announced that it had relaxed some of its sexual content rules.

Like most mainstream online streaming and social media platforms, Twitch doesn’t allow nudity or explicit sexual activity on the platform, but users were often left confused about what they could get away with. Earlier this month a clip of a Twitch stream, appearing to show the user ‘Morgpie’ exposing a hell of a lot of naked breast, went viral, adding to the lack of Twitch rules clarity. Morgpie was briefly banned, before the rule change, and has since had her account re-instated.

Now, the consolidated Twitch sexual content rules —which were confusingly listed under various policy areas of the platform—can all be found in one place . The platform also updated its policy to allow some sexual content-related activities and depictions that previously would have fallen foul of the rules and could have been banned.

Sexual content must, however, still be labelled by the Twitch user creating it, using a content classification label (CCL) marking it as sexual in nature. If you don’t apply this label to your sexual content, you risk getting warnings from Twitch and the platform adding the label for you. Repeatedly failing to label sexual content with a CCL can result in all your Twitch content being automatically tagged with a CCL.

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Now content that deliberately highlights a person’s breasts, buttocks or the pelvic region will be allowed, where it would have previously been banned. This means that if you’re streaming yourself on Twitch in an extremely low-cut top, or wearing pants so tight we can practically see the veins on your penis, you’re more likely to get away with it (provided you apply the sexual content CCL, of course).

Twitch said that this move was made because its content policy was previously “out of line with industry standards and resulted in female-presenting streamers being disproportionately penalized.”

Twitch also announced that it was allowing “fictionalized (drawn, animated, or sculpted) fully exposed female-presenting breasts and/or genitals or buttocks regardless of gender.” The company said this move was made because the policy of banning such content was “overly punitive”, and because there is a “thriving artist community on Twitch” that it suggested was being negatively affected by the rule.

However, just days after this announcement about “fictionalized” nudity being allowed, Twitch announced that it was banning this again. The announcement came after Twitch became flooded with the kind of “fictionalized” nudity that was suddenly allowed.

Twitch said: “Upon reflection, we have decided that we went too far with this change. Digital depictions of nudity present a unique challenge – AI can be used to create realistic images, and it can be hard to distinguish between digital art and photography.”

In the original content rules update, Twitch added that “body writing on female-presenting breasts and/or buttocks regardless of gender” is now allowed, as are “erotic dances that involve disrobing or disrobing gestures, such as strip teases.”

Twitch added: “Popular dances, such as twerking, grinding, and pole dancing are now allowed without a label. Previously some dances were prohibited and others were allowed with a label. Enforcing on dances regardless of context meant our policy prohibited twerking at a wedding or taking a pole dancing exercise class, for example.”

The platform has also blocked content marked with potentially visually offensive CCLs from appearing on the Twitch homepage as recommendations. Content with a CCL for sexual themes, violence, drugs, intoxication, excessive tobacco use and gambling will now not show as recommendations on the homepage, mainly because even if you don’t click on them you can see their thumbnails.

The updates feel more like Twitch catching up with the nuance and subjectivity of so-called sexual content when it comes to streaming, rather than a revolutionary move to allow more sexual content per se. However, it’s interesting to see a major streaming and social platform make any kind of move to relax sexual content rules.

Most mainstream platforms in Twitch’s sphere are going in the other direction, cracking down harder on nudity and sexual content as they face increasing pressure from authorities and advertisers, when it comes to allowing any kind of sexual content.

In 2022 Epic Games, maker of the Fortnite game, faced heavy criticism after a former adult content creator named Adriana Chechick was repeatedly banned from Twitch after trying to access a Fortnite event on the platform.

Chechik was allegedly banned from Twitch after wearing a translucent outfit on the platform. Now Twitch has updated its sexual content policy, hopefully travesties like this won’t happen in the future.

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Jamie F
Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice, among others. He is also the creative force behind the Audible podcast Beast Master.

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