Twitch has attempted to come up with a solution to the growing controversy over the recent “hot tub meta” on the popular streaming platform. After Twitch came under fire for telling viewers to simply “not look” at hot tub streams, it seems that the company is opting for an actual solution after streamers have claimed Twitch’s Terms of Service has no consistency.
The “hot tub meta” refers to the growing unofficial category on Twitch featuring bikini-clad women who sit in inflatable pools to bypass Twitch’s “no bathing suit” rule on the Terms of Service. Many in the streaming community has felt that Twitch’s identity is shifting for the worse. Some members also feel that these hot tub streams are highly suggestive and thus inappropriate for the gaming platform. And the usual concern is that Twitch seems to have no consistency when it comes to enforcing its ToS, making the company appear biased towards some women.
In an official blog post on the topic, Twitch stated that they have been delayed in publicly addressing the hot tub meta due to the “complexity” and “nuances” of the situation. The streams don’t go against their Terms of Service but have been deemed offensive by many.
“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,” Twitch said.
Twitch then went over their Nudity & Attire and Sexually Suggestive Content policies in-depth. Streamers may wear swimwear while at the beach or in a hot tub, Twitch pointed out. Twitch draws the line at “overtly” or “explicitly sexually suggestive” content, not everything that can potentially be seen as suggestive. Twitch pointed out that many female characters in video games are also “presented in a sexualized manner,” which doesn’t mean that those games are restricted on the platform.
The streaming platform giant stated that they plan to update the policies on sexually suggestive content in the coming months.
Twitch then addressed hot tub streamer Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa’s concerns after her channel was suddenly demonetized without warning. According to Twitch, advertisers were requesting not to appear on Amouranth’s channel and they obliged. While this was out of their control, Twitch admitted that they should have first notified Amouranth and other content creators who were affected.
“Our creators rely on us, and we should have alerted affected streamers to this change before it happened–it was a mistake not to do so. We’re working with individual creators to address their specific situations and restore ads where appropriate,” Twitch said.
The streaming community has been asking for a solution to the growing precense of the hot tub meta on the platform and Twitch has decided to make some changes to address it.
Twitch admitted that selecting “not interested” is not effective since “Just Chatting” is such a broad category. Some gamers even spend hours in the “Just Chatting” section, so flagging all “Just Chatting” content can be quite frustrating for people who just want to avoid hot tub content specifically. There will now be a channel that’s specifically for hot tubs, pools, and beaches.
While this is not a permanent solution, Twitch is hoping this will solve a lot of the ongoing issues with brand and inappropriateness.
This new category went live today. Twitch provided a how-to guide for streamers looking to take part in the brand new category. The blog post also goes over appropriate attire, warning users that there can still be no revealing swimsuits or nudity.
“First and foremost, the Pools, Hot Tubs & Beaches category functions very similarly to any other category on Twitch. This means, if you select the Pools, Hot Tubs & Beaches category when you go live, you can switch to a new category mid-stream if your content changes. As with other categories, you can only stream to one category at a time,” Twitch explained.
Time will tell if OnlyFans models and other hot tub streamers will start using this category for their suggestive streams going forward. It’s also unclear if the streaming community will appreciate the change or find it to be lacking in addressing real issues on the platform.