Twitching in tailspin, restrictions being rolled back as users rebel over changes

Photo credit: Thomas De Braekeleer

On Tuesday, Twitch released new advertising restrictions for its platform. On Wednesday night, the platform began rolling back those rules as the community revolted. Or is it?

The new platform rules would prevent any advertising partnerships outside of Twitch-powered ads. This means that “burned-in” video, display, or audio ads are no longer allowed. Branded ads are a popular way for brands to support Twitch streamers by having their logo or ad appear somewhere during the stream. These rules were not discussed with the community prior to their implementation – leading to a loud community backlash on Twitter, TikTok and other social media spaces.

“The once unique and admirable vision of a creator-first platform now feels like a fading and distant dream,” said one Creator Network wrote to the platform on Twitter. “Cuts in creators’ subscription revenue, inconsistent moderation policies, and attacks on creators’ ability to track their own independent revenue streams have made Twitch one of the least creator-friendly platforms on social media.” It has undermined the very ecosystem that Twitch is made what it is. And unlike in the past, these changes come at a time when the live streaming landscape has never been more competitive.”

“The days of Twitch dominating live streaming are coming to an end. Insurgent platforms are on the rise, short content has captured Gen Z market share, and for the first time, the very developers who birthed your platform are building your biggest and most menacing competitors. As Twitch continues to erode the autonomy and livelihoods of the millions of streamers who call their service home, you’ll have to watch as those same streamers pack up and bring their talents to the platforms that put them first.”

After the massive backlash reflecting those sentiments, Twitch quickly rescinded the policy. “Yesterday we released new branded content policies that impact your ability to work with sponsors to grow your streaming revenue. “These policies are bad for you and bad for Twitch,” the statement said reads.

“Sponsors are critical to the growth and ability of streamers to generate revenue. We will not prevent you from forming direct relationships with sponsors – you will continue to own and control your sponsorship business.”

Despite this statement, “burn-in” advertising violates Twitch’s new Terms of Service. Section 12 of the Twitch Terms of Service governs how advertisements may appear on the Platform. It states: “Twitch has the exclusive right to monetize the Twitch Services, including without limitation the exclusive right to sell, serve and display advertising on the Twitch Services. This means that you may not insert or embed any pre-recorded advertising units into your live stream, nor permit any third party to do so, including but not limited to video advertising, display or banner advertising, or audio advertising.”