Twitch is updating the way it responds to sexual content. As part of the change, the streaming platform will now allow some previously prohibited content — as long as it has a label to warn viewers.
Twitch has long struggled with moderating content containing sexual material and has faced backlash for its uneven handling in the past. While Twitch notably banned Indiefoxx over what the streamer claimed was a wardrobe malfunction, the company chose to warn — not ban — top streamer Pokimane for accidentally showing a Pornhub page. Twitch also recently banned a female creator who appeared to be streaming while topless.
The platform will now allow “deliberately highlighted breasts, buttocks or pelvic region” if the stream has a Content Classification Label (CCL), which Twitch launched in June as a way for creators to warn users if their stream contains sexual themes, gambling, vulgarity, or other mature content. The same goes for drawn, animated, or sculpted “fully exposed female-presenting breasts and/or genitals or buttocks regardless of gender,” along with “body writing on female-presenting breasts and/or buttocks.”
Twitch also won’t take action against streams featuring erotic dances like strip teases if they have this label. Conversely, Twitch will no longer require a label for streams involving twerking, grinding, and pole dancing.
We’ve gotten feedback that our policies around sexual content are unclear so we’ve drawn clearer boundaries between what is & isn’t permitted on Twitch.
We also recognize that not everyone wants to see certain content, so we’re updating our criteria for homepage recommendations. pic.twitter.com/rvZ4kFADR6
— Twitch (@Twitch) December 13, 2023
Angela Hession, Twitch’s chief customer trust officer, says the platform updated its policies after receiving “consistent feedback from streamers” that they were “confusing and that it can be difficult to know how their content will be interpreted.”
Instead of having separate rules for sexually suggestive content and sexually explicit content sections, Twitch merged the two into a Sexual Content Policy within the Community Guidelines as part of its update today. Hession says the former sexually suggestive content policy “was out of line with industry standards and resulted in female-presenting streamers being disproportionately penalized.”
Although Twitch is loosening some of its restrictions on sexual content, it doesn’t open the door to sex games, sexual violence, or porn. Twitch maintains that those are “entirely prohibited.” Users won’t see mature streams on the homepage, either. Any livestreams with labels indicating drugs, intoxication, or excessive tobacco use; violent and graphic depictions; gambling; and / or sexual themes won’t appear as recommendations on Twitch’s homepage. Users can still search for labeled content or find it directly on a creator’s channel.
This doesn’t mean streams containing mature-rated games will be removed from the homepage, though. Twitch handles them separately: it detects when users are playing games with a Mature rating and automatically applies a “Mature-rated game” label instead. You can check out the FAQ about the change, which includes more context on why Twitch made this update, at the bottom of Twitch’s blog post.