Popular Twitch streamer Jenelle "IndieFoxx" Dagres has been banned by the platform for the sixth time this year as the Amazon-owned firm continues to struggle to set clear boundaries for creators. At the time of writing, she is still a partnered streamer and part of Twitch’s program, and will regain control of her channel when the ban ends.
For those unaware, Dagres has been a central figure in the ongoing issue of "sexually explicit" content on Twitch, both in the hot tub meta and the more recent ASMR controversy, which infamously saw her break wind directly onto a mic to appease a viewer request. At the time of writing the exact reason for her ban is unknown, with users of Reddit speculating, but Twitch being their usual taciturn selves.
IndieFoxx's ban duration raises questions
So far in 2021, IndieFoxx has racked up six bans for a total of sixteen days (and counting) of enforced inactivity on the site, which stands in stark contrast to the length of bans handed out to other creators on the platform. This has led to accusations of unfairness from some quarters, and again is a result of Twitch being unclear as to exactly how and why they determine who to ban, and for how long.
Given the nature of her recent streams, it seems likely the creator was banned for violating Twitch’s content on attire when streaming, and the lack of reaction from her social media suggests this is not a massive surprise or blow for a streamer that has seen a huge surge in popularity as a result of the controversy. In the last three months, she has seen a 256% increase in followers gained, as well as a 210% increase in views gained, making her one of the top 100 streamers on the platform.
While it is up to Twitch to set the boundaries on their own platform, 2021 has made it increasingly obvious that there is a massive amount of wiggle room in their terms of service, or ambiguity around what constitutes a bannable offense. The statement earlier in the year that "being found to be sexy is not against the rules" seemed like one that supported hot tub streamers, but every decision seems based on the bottom line of advertisers first.
Zach Bussey, a reporter covering Twitch stories, told Inven that Twitch suspensions tend to even have an opposite effect to punishment:
"Twitch suspensions have the opposite effect when it comes to streamers with name recognition. Instead of a punishment, the resulting publicity promotes a streamer, and there's no better example than Indiefoxx. Indiefoxx's 6th suspension of 2021 coincides with rapidly growing popularity — 1000 Average in December 2020, to over 9300 this month.
As Twitch continues to court advertisers, there are going to be some tough decisions made soon. I envision stricter punishments for repeat offenders and perhaps removal from certain discoverability features. I don't think Twitch wants to deplatform any of their top creators, regardless of the content they are creating - but they also know things can't keep going the way they are."
This is far from unique, with almost every big firm choosing to prioritize income, but for Twitch much of their success has been built on their monopoly over the market. With the increasing popularity of YouTube as a streaming platform and new options springing up around the world, it would behoove the purple giant to finally set hard and fast guidelines, and take a stronger stance against adult content if they truly do not want it on their platform.
Screengrabs via: IndieFoxx | Twitch