Over the past few months, a debate has been raging over whether or not ‘hot tub streamers’ are in violation of Twitch’s attire and conduct rules for chatting to the camera in swimsuits. Twitch has finally confirmed that the streams under fire do not in fact violate their rules, and have created a whole new category called ‘Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches’ to accommodate them. Twitch also says that it will soon be updating its rules on such matters, as it admits that the rules are “not as clear as they could be”.
Twitch generally does not allow streamers to go fully or partially nude with ‘contextual exceptions’: namely, situations where it would make sense to go partially exposed, such as when at a beach, pool, or, yes, hot tub. The controversy came about when some people pointed to content creators in the ‘Just Chatting’ category who got around Twitch’s attire rules prohibiting partial nudity by filming their video in a hot tub. This sparked a discussion around what was considered ‘sexual content’ and why – after all, these streamers were not actually doing anything sexual but were merely talking to their chat with fewer clothes on than usual. Others claimed that the streamer’s purpose was clearly to show off their bodies in a ‘sexually suggestive’ manner and that this was a violation of the rules.
We have an update on all things Hot Tubs, ad pauses, and content preferences. Read the blog to learn more: https://t.co/C5h7MMdAae
— Twitch (@Twitch) May 21, 2021
In the blog post that announced the changes, Twitch clarified their stance on the issue: “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 was also very clear about their stance on those who took advantage of the discussion to harass these streamers, the vast majority of whom are women. “No one deserves to be harassed for the content they choose to stream, how they look, or who they are, and we will take action against anyone who perpetuates this kind of toxicity on our service.” How effective Twitch will be in stamping down on harassers we won’t be able to predict, but it’s at least encouraging to see them pledge their support.
The platform explained that ‘sexual suggestiveness’ is a spectrum that is subject to each individual’s interpretation, and that disallowing any content that might be seen to be suggestive would result in far more restrictions than what Twitch has currently. Put it this way – if IRL boobs aren’t allowed, neither are video game boobs, and I don’t think that’s the outcome these dudes complaining about hot tub streamers were after. Twitch says that explicit sexual acts is where it draws the line, and will be updating its rules to make things more clear for streamers.
Twitch admits that the new category is not a long term fix, and they will be working with content creators going forward to find a more lasting solution.