This week, the controversy surrounding Twitch streamer Alinity and her dog reignited debate around the platform’s inconsistent bans. Now eSports journalist Richard Lewis has weighed in and described the current inconsistency at Twitch as a “circus.”
In a recent article, Lewis points to a February 2018 tweet from Twitch where it announced new community guidelines and asked Twitch users: “Please watch us closely and hold us accountable.”
Please watch us closely and hold us accountable. This first update clarifies our guidelines, but we know we'll be judged on how we enforce them. Look for more communication about our enforcement policies in the coming months. https://t.co/WEsnudVKol
Lewis describes this as “one of the most laughable statements of all time” and then points to many examples of Twitch’s inconsistency since February 2018 when it comes to applying its rules and dishing out bans.
Some of the examples Lewis cites include TF Blade getting wrongly suspended after he was accused of saying the “N word” when he actually said “idiots,” Alinity not being suspended after her cat-throwing controversy, and Amouranth only getting a 48-hour ban after flashing her genitals to viewers.
Lewis notes that while Twitch’s inconsistent standards haven’t affected him personally and he has never been warned by the platform, he believes that Twitch needs to get a handle on it because the inconsistency has wider negative impacts on streamers and employees.
“You are running a circus,” Lewis wrote to Twitch CEO Emmett Shear. “Here’s the thing that might shock you. One of the main reasons I think you need to get a handle on this is because of the misinformation and subsequent abuse it leads to.”
Rumors about women benefiting exclusively from Twitch’s double standards and staff members abusing their positions by collecting nude images of streamers in exchange for fewer penalties when they break the rules are two examples of the misinformation Lewis points to.
“Can you not grasp how life destroying that is for the employees that see that spread about them on the internet? Do you not understand how demeaning that is for the women involved?” Lewis wrote.
Lewis blames Twitch’s current problems with inconsistency entirely on Shear:
“You did that by the way. Yes, you, Twitch. Not the internet and social media. You. And you have created these issues by not giving due consideration to the optics of these ridiculous and inconsistent bans. It goes beyond you harming people’s revenue streams, something you give little-to-no consideration towards.
“This is people’s lives, their reputations, their ability to enjoy what they do. You’re letting it be stripped away because, like every tech company before you that has reached monolithic status, you have ceased to care about the little people. I imagine that soon you will be moving towards complete algorithmic moderation, laying off the staff that are no longer required to cut corners and then paying yourself a fat million dollar bonus for being so clever.”
Lewis finishes by warning that the double standards are likely to lead to an exodus from Twitch: “You must know that having a userbase that actively can’t stand your double standards and hypocrisy, that dreads doing what they do that makes YOU money too, that wants to leave for the first platform that can rival what you offer financially.”