After a bunch of people got mad that Twitch, a livestreaming platform primarily used to broadcast people playing video games, was also hosting channels featuring women talking to the internet while wearing bikinis, the company decided to silo off that stuff by creating a special “Pools, Hot Tubs, And Beaches” category. (The best result of this decision? A stream of otters in a pool.) Now, because it’s been a month and nobody cares about people splashing around in swimsuits anymore, the streamers have found new ways to push buttons by getting on camera and loudly licking plastic ear-mics.
This latest battleground in the hilariously escalating war between corporate service terms and the streamers who make Twitch money resulted, as The Verge and Kotaku report, in two prominent accounts being temporarily banned late last week. Twitch didn’t explain the exact reasons for its decision but both streamers—women who go by Indiefoxx and Amouranth—had been attracting attention for broadcasting themselves with their butts in the air while licking Cronenbergian ASMR microphones with fake human ears attached to them.
Both streamers basically played chicken with Twitch, which is the sole judge of what The Verge defines as the difference between “intentionally sexy (against the rules) or merely incidentally sexy (which is allowed).” Because, as Indiefoxx and Amouranth have made clear, that line is as well-defined as knowing what is or isn’t pornography when you see it, the only recognizable test of what Twitch allows seems to be what will or won’t piss off advertisers enough to warrant action.
The two banned accounts were both reinstated last night, showing just how unclear the entire situation remains. We imagine it’s only a matter of time before Twitch makes a “Plastic Ear-Licking And Butt Poses” category. Everyone gets tired of streamers drooling on microphones, and the top Twitch stars need to innovate yet again by, like, playing audio from porn sites through a megaphone while they do jumping jack and everything goes right back to where it started.
In this strange, contested ecosystem, the only peaceful place left on Twitch is that broadcast of the stop sign that nobody ever stops at. Until, that is, the stop sign starts dancing around in a stop sign-sized bikini.
Send Great Job, Internet tips to firstname.lastname@example.org