After sparking controversy earlier this week by suspending advertising on Kaitlyn "Amouranth" Siragusa's channel over her hot tub streams, Twitch announced on Friday that they are introducing a Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches category to the site. The new category enshrines the hot tub meta into its own section of Twitch that advertisers can opt-in or out of.
"Community and advertiser feedback made clear that we need to offer more ways to control the content that’s recommended as well as where ads appear," Twitch explained in a blog post on Friday. "So, we’re introducing a new category: Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches. If you have chosen swimwear that is allowed under the 'Swim and Beaches' contextual exception to our standard Nudity and Attire policy, you should stream into the Pools, Hot Tubs and Beaches category. We’ll be reaching out to creators with more details on how to use this category moving forward."
Twitch explained that this decision is a result of the ongoing conversation between Twitch, its creators, and its community over the increasingly popular hot tub streams that have taken over the Just Chatting category in recent months. They also clarified a few aspects of the new category.
"We want to make a few things clear: first and foremost, 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," they explained. "Second, 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."
They further clarified that all the usual nudity and sexually suggestive content policies will still apply to the Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches category. So streamers will still be prohibited from engaging in overtly sexual or explicitly sexual content on their streams, but the new category will provide a place where streamers can exercise discretion over their swimwear attire through the already established hot tub exemption.
Twitch described Friday's move as a "near term" not a "long term" solution, so we can expect continued development of their policy on scantily clad streamers in the future.
Twitch addresses suspension of advertising controversy
Twitch also addressed the backlash from earlier this week in the blog. They explained that Friday's move will help brands have more control over their advertising dollars.
"On Twitch, brands get to decide where and when their ads appear," they explained. "Today, they can target or avoid specific categories of content and flag channels that don’t meet their standards. This means that Twitch, in rare cases, will suspend advertising on a channel at the advertisers’ request. We absolutely do not permit brands to use protected characteristics as a filter for advertising targeting or blocking."
The company also apologized for its move to suspend ads on a number of channels earlier this week without notifying the creators. Most notably, Amouranth announced on Tuesday that she has her advertising suspended indefinitely, a move that caused a huge uproar in the Twitch community.
"We recently suspended advertising on some channels that were flagged by the majority of our advertiser base and failed to notify them," Twitch wrote. "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."
You can check out the new category here.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.