Twitch launches new identity tags, and people are already upset
May 23, 2021
Twitch has announced that over 350 new tags will be added to the streaming platform. The tags include gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, ability, mental health, disabled, and veteran. These additions won’t change how tagging works and will simply give creators more choice, developers explained.
Some in the streaming community were infuriated when a tag for hot tub streams came before a tag for trans-identifying content creators. It has been something content creators have demanded for a while and it looks like Twitch listening to this request is in part responsible for the new tags that are coming to the platform.
“We’d like to thank our trans community for originally requesting the ‘transgender’ tag, and for their passion and persistence in pursuit of that request. This has been one of the most popular requests we’ve heard, and the simple truth is that we should have done this sooner,” Twitch noted.
We’ll have tags related to gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, ability, mental health, and more.
For the full details, check out the blog: https://t.co/dXLPrlayPX
— Twitch (@Twitch) May 22, 2021
Twitch explains lack of transgender tag for streamers
Tags were launched in 2018 in an attempt to help creators describe their content. This allowed viewers to find streams that fit their interests more quickly. At the time, the tags simply described what streamers were doing on stream and not who they identified as. But Twitch has now admitted that this decision was wrong.
“When viewers talk about why they love Twitch, they don’t just talk about the content. They talk about creators, what they care about, and the communities they have built. By expanding tags, we are giving creators more ways to be discovered and viewers more ways to find communities that they want to call home,” Twitch said.
The company admitted that it “took us too long” to embrace these changes to the platform.
What is the point of new Twitch identity tags?
Twitch says that the new tags are all about being “as inclusive as possible.” By partnering with third-party organizations like GLAAD and AbleGamers, Twitch received input from “experts focused on the progress of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, LGBTQIA+, disabled, and marginalized communities.”
While the new tags are an attempt to hit a lot of these categories more thoroughly, Twitch admitted that some tags the community is looking for might be missing. Users who want to suggest a missing tag can use UserVoice to make Twitch aware. Highly requested suggestions will be reviewed on a weekly basis and then evaluated.
Streaming community responds to new Twitch tags
While many are pleased with Twitch for the new tags, especially those in the LGBTQ community, others are already contemplating how the controversial streaming platform will mess this up.
Some streamers have wondered how Twitch will react if someone selects the “wrong” tag. For example, if a white-passing person selects a “black” tag, would they be punished? How would it be determined if someone is appropriately selecting tags that apply to them or if they’re appropriating them? There’s already a Reddit thread dedicated entirely to calling the new tag system “racist” with these potenial questions in mind.
There are some streamers in the gaming community who are confused as to why Twitch created the tags in the first place. Many responded on Twitter with frustration, asking Twitch why they needed to know if a gamer they watch identifies as “trans” or “black.” According to those comments, they watch for the content, not for the person’s identity.
In response, other content creators noted that if someone doesn’t understand the point of the tag then the feature probably isn’t meant for them.
If you’re struggling to understand its purpose, take comfort in knowing this feature is not *for* you. This helps marginalized groups find safe spaces/communities they identify with. If you don’t need to seek spaces that accept you then enjoy your privilege & move on unaffected. pic.twitter.com/LgwrQ6ZJ7i
— s u p s t e f f ☁️ (@supsteff_) May 22, 2021
Another portion of the streaming community noted that it will become easier for bullies and trolls to target specific creators who identify themselves in ways that marginalized, now that they trolls can simply search certain tags to find people who identify a certain way.
Despite the backlash, many marginalized people are happy with Twitch for taking steps towards creating safer spaces on its platform.
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