6 Clown Problems Twitch Inflicted On Itself
Twitch as a platform is almost single-handedly responsible for making the live streaming of video game content go from awkward to … still awkward, but worth millions. That's great, but blazing the trail for one of the most promising and personal forms of entertainment sadly doesn't happen without a lot of bonkers shortcomings ...
Metallica Gets Eaten By Some Kind Of Monster (Of Their Own Making)
Metallica opened BlizzConline 2021's live-stream with a concert for the ages (of viewers young enough to be their grandkids). What began as a decent gig moved all the way up to awesome when Twitch muted Metallica and replaced their thrashing and YEAH-ing by some generic-ass royalty-free music.
Credit where credit is due, that's the best Lars Ulrich has sounded in decades.
Best of all, this happened only on Twitch's main channel and not on any of the smaller channels showcasing the event. So, why did Twitch punish Metallica for playing a Metallica song, one that wasn't even from St. Anger? Because unlike Activision Blizzard, which had paid for both the rights of Metallica's songs and actual Metallica, Twitch didn't bother to and feared the big monster that is DMCA. DMCA, short for Digital Millenium Copyright Act, is a law that allows for the AIs of powerful copyright owners to cause a lot of trouble for sites showing off content the AI recognizes as theirs -- even when it isn't.
Funnily enough, all things DMCA came about as a result of the messy battle between Napster and a band that didn't want their music to get misappropriated --*weak-ass drum roll*-- yeah, it was Metallica.
Twitch As The Poster Child For Copyright-Gone-Mad Is Not Even That New
The Muteallica debacle might have been the most blatant indication that maybe we shouldn't leave humane matters like art up to the beta version of Skynet, but it certainly was not the first.
In November of 2020, Twitch carried out a mega purge that resulted in the deletion of the entire catalog of thousands of streamers. This purge came about as part of a massive music industry-led DMCA crackdown, but it didn't stop at copyrighted music. Many streamers saw their channels go bye-bye due to the usage of random in-game sounds no one expected could be subject to copyright.
Worst of all, Twitch was aware that this would take place for months but didn't bother to either warn streamers or develop ways of deleting copyrighted material to prevent the Vidpocalypse. When pretty much everyone started to complain, Twitch developed tools that allowed for the removal of copyright-infringing content. "Okay, they started to do the bare minimum," is what we would have said if this didn't still result in a bunch of other streamers getting their histories deleted for clips they no longer had up.
Twitch, a company with Jeff Bezos money, apologized by saying the equivalent of "Yeah, we could have done better, but uh ... we didn't."
Imagine streaming a game and having to run the hell away from any newly entered music-filled area for fear of getting banned.
Because nothing makes sense, Cyberpunk 2077 somehow managed to be the one game to solve the problem through a game mode that automatically removes any possibly copyrighted
Twitch Teaches Kids That Rules Are For The Weak
One of Twitch's shadiest aspects is the platform's "seemingly" arbitrary approach to the enforcement of its own rules. Despite the continuous introduction of new ones (many of which not very well thought-out, as you've seen above and will see below), they only seem to apply to a select many.
Twitch supposedly works on the three strikes principle. Yeah, it might suck for US law, but it works for baseball, so it's officially at a 50/50 success rate. But, as seen in the tweet below, big-time streamers don't seem to have to worry about it.
Please don't forget that on top of that, "non-prime" streamers can even get strikes for clips that aren't up anymore to get the full picture of the "meritocracy" that is Twitch. And it gets even worse.
The weirdest thing about this problem is how Twitch has been cracking down on streamers who've made a channel before reaching the age of 13 ... but only if their channels hadn't blown up. Pretty sure that letting kids know that it's not that they broke the law, just that they didn't make enough money while doing so, is gonna send just the right message.
Twitch Is Surprisingly Active When It Comes To Defending Those Not In Need
You might have heard the insult "simp" making the rounds lately. One group that falls under the umbrella are dudes allegedly sending women ridiculous sums of money because they are way too into their *content.* Since "simps" don't fund Twitch to have broke-ass kids dragging them, they've successfully inspired the platform to come up with some hilarious protection policies.
Back in December of 2020, Twitch announced the prohibition of the complete cycle of Pokevolution insult that is "virgin," "simp," and "incel." A lot of people complained, which makes sense because A) this is ultra dumb B) you don't usually see that much buzz against the platform's ever-present plague of racism, misogyny, transphobia, and sexual harassment.
When facing the backlash, Twitch tried to clarify that these terms would be subjected to punishment only if someone was using them as an insult. Yeah, they either implied that they never had to bother looking up the meaning of the word "slur," or that a really powerful/really weird user likes to take them as compliments.
The move was successful … at increasing the use of the terms, which doubled after the ban.
Pay To (Get A Chance To) Win
The "Pay to win" feature in games is, naturally, all about paying an extra fee to make the game easier -- think being rich in real life. This usually happens via awarding players with gear that'll crush everyone who didn't pay for the golden ticket. Gamers have been known for constantly lashing out at stuff they should be cool with, so it's hard to say when they're right. However, when it comes to "pay to win," the only good thing that comes to mind is how it has managed to unite 99% of people who play games against it.
Twitch, the one platform that definitely should know better, naturally didn't and decided to port that blight to the world of streaming itself.
In a partnership with Monstercat, Twitch introduced a new plan that allowed streamers to buy Twitch affiliate status for five dollars a month. Affiliate status is the base level of monetization for Twitch streamers. Despite it offering little over the chance to make a few bucks at best, it's still something a lot of users had to work hard to achieve, so this decision left a lot of people feeling burned out. And the others didn't fare that much better.
While it's scum-y that Twitch didn't simply allow affiliate status for anyone who wanted it from the get-go, it's straight-up scam-y that players who pay are merely entering a "spend money to maybe make money" scheme.
A Dumb Emote Debacle Is Enough To Show Twitch's True Colors
Hopefully, you've never endorsed a person who turned out to be part of a certain hypothetical real-life version of Hydra, but we all know someone else who's been through that. The "pogchamp" emote is one of the oldest and most famous staples of Twitch. Unfortunately for some, the platform canned it because the face on display belongs to Ryan "gootecks" Gutierrez, a gamer who went full dipshit and went with the whole publicly inciting the capitol riots schtick.
Unfortunately for his monumental legacy consisting of a few pixels, Twitch couldn't have someone openly promoting terrorism, so they could no longer have his face on the site. Still, the spirit of pogchamp was too big (despite the word itself having no meaning whatsoever), so instead of just killing it, Twitch changed the pogchamp emote to feature a new face every day.
A mere three days later, Twitch featured streamer Omega "Critical Bard" Jones, a musician who works with the Critical Role crew as the pogchamp of the day. The overexposure of a channel as relatively small as Jones' could prove overwhelming to anyone, but he had to deal with an additional Internet target: being Black.
Commenters started off easy with the seemingly harmless "He doesn't really look like pogchamp," but then they remembered they only had 24 hours, so they dropped the cryptoracist bit and kicked off a harassment campaign where thousands of idiots stormed Bard's chat. The shitshow then culminated with the angry mob accusing Bard of being the real racist via out-of-context clips. Classic.
Promoting diversity is vital, but it's equally important to do it in a way that doesn't endanger vulnerable members of the community. Simply showing off a guy's face while doing nothing to deal with the platform's known rampant racism is little more than playing a sweet Saxophone solo over the sound of the guy getting mauled by the bus you just threw him under.
Top image: Yulia Grigoryeva, Siam Stock/Shutterstock