Former Twitch executive condemns handling of Ninja’s channel

By Olivia Richman


Aug 13, 2019

Reading time: 2 min

Twitch’s former vice president of community, Justin Wong, has recently revealed his own two cents on the streaming platform’s treatment of Tyler “Ninja” Blevin’s old channel. 

Wong tweeted that Twitch’s decision to promote other channls on Ninja’s page brings up a long-running internal conflict at the company: Who owns the viewers, the streamer, or the platform? 

After working at Twitch for six years, Wong gave some insight on this situation. He explained that when a viewer hits an offline channel page, they’re far more likely to bounce from Twitch. 

“It’s a super leaky part of the acquisition funnel and something Twitch has been trying to solve with things like Autohost. They want to get you in front of content ASAP,” Wong said. 

According to the former executive, Twitch put the Fortnite directory on Ninja’s channel without asking, and only when he left for Mixer. 

“Ninja had no say in the decision and no say in who appears in the directory (like porn). Twitch stole his ability to participate twice,” Wong said. 

When Ninja left Twitch for Mixer earlier in August, Twitch took it upon themselves to use his popular channel to promote other streamers. While a nice gesture in theory, the streaming platform accidentally recommended a pornographic channel on Ninja’s old profile recently, and it didn’t sit well with Ninja or others in the streaming community. 

“I have no say in any of this stuff,” Ninja said in a video posted to his Twitter. “This is the line. This is the last straw. We’re trying to get the whole channel taken down. Or at least not promote other streamers or other brands on my channel. For anyone that saw that, for anyone whose kids didn’t want to see that, I apologize and I’m sorry.” 

According to Wong’s tweets, Twitch had put the Fortnite page on Ninja’s channel as “an experiment.” But he finds it concerning that they ran an experiment on one of their “highest-profile departures ever,” which came across as quite vindictive and “out of touch.” 

As previously reported, Twitch did revert Ninja’s channel after the negative feedback. CEO Emett Shear also apologized on Twitter. It remains unclear if more experiments like this will return to Twitch in the future.