Twitch revamps rules on sexual content

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By Tom Gerken

Technology reporter

Adult content such as nude drawings and sculptures are now permitted on streaming site Twitch – as long as it is deemed artistic.

Creators can now also stream video highlighting their “breasts, buttocks or pelvic region” the Amazon-owned site has announced.

Twitch – which is popular with gamers – says it is part of a revamp of its “confusing” rules on sexual content.

A blanket ban on pornographic material remains in place.

“We have received consistent feedback from streamers… that it can be difficult to know how their content will be interpreted,” Twitch vice president of customer trust Angela Hession said in a blog post.

“We want streamers to feel confident they understand our rules and viewers to feel confident they will get the experience they expect.”

Under its old rules, most explicit content was banned, which was problematic because while Twitch is known for being a place to go to watch others play video games, it has also become popular for other types of creative expression.

These can range from drawings to sculptures to body painting.

This gave rise to uncertainty about whether such content was permitted – forcing Twitch, at one point, to concede that “being found to be sexy by others is not against our rules”..

The company has now acknowledged the situation was confusing.

“There is a thriving artist community on Twitch, and this policy was overly punitive and did not reflect the impact of the content,” Ms Hession said.

Now, the introduction of rules around explicit content means artists and other creators should have much more clarity on exactly what is – and isn’t – allowed.

The primary change involves the requirement for content creation labels on certain streams. Viewers must provide consent before watching such a stream.

Much content that was previously banned will now be allowed, as long as it is appropriately labelled, including that which “deliberately highlighted breasts, buttocks or the pelvic region”, body painting and what it dubs “erotic dances” that include people removing their clothes.

Other dances such as pole dancing and “twerking” are also now allowed without being labelled.

Twitch said this change was made because the previous rules created issues, such as barring “twerking at a wedding” or exercise classes that involved pole dancing.

Streamers who do not correctly label their content will be warned and the correct label will be applied by Twitch.