Twitch has been the go-to platform for gamers throughout the years, and 2020 had its fair share of controversial moments. The platform not only had its biggest year yet but also came under fire because of various controversies surrounding streamers, DMCA and executive decisions.
Dr Disrespect’s ban on Twitch was by far the biggest controversy on Twitch this year. It has been months since the popular streamer was banned and no one knows why Twitch and Doc broke up their contract. Dr Disrespect moved over to YouTube Gaming, and his popularity increased even more. He gained over 1.3 million subscribers between August and October but is yet to speak out why he had to part ways with Twitch.
Copyrighted music being played on streams has been an issue for the longest time. In most cases, streams that played copyrighted music would have parts of their Twitch VODs muted, but copyright companies are more aggressive than ever before. Twitch issued a notice that streamers are not supposed to stream any copyrighted music else their accounts may be suspended.
But what came next was even more bizarre with Herman Li of Dragonforce getting banned while playing his own song and some streamers getting banned for playing games that had copyrighted audio. While most streamers are comfortable not streaming copyrighted music, choosing games that have no copyrighted music can be very tricky. Games like Cyberpunk 2077 have decided to add a streamer mode that removes all copyrighted music, and other studios might do the same in the future.
Shroud and Ninja are two of the most popular streamers across any platform, but when Microsoft offered them deals to join Mixer, a part of the community was not happy. Both streamers allegedly received contracts worth millions of dollars, but Microsoft shut down Mixer out of the blue, causing their exclusivity rights to the streamer’s content to end. While Shroud was openly welcomed back, a lot of viewers were hostile towards Ninja and called him a sell-out. Things went back to normalcy in a few weeks and Ninja is back at the top with over 16.5 million followers on the platform.
Twitch came under fire earlier this month for banning Brazilian streamer Tayhuhu. Her daughter came in front of the stream while the streamer left momentarily to pick up a food delivery. Twitch has been heavily criticized for such bans this year as favouritism seems to be in play with multiple streamers facing little to no consequences despite breaking terms of service. Tayhuhu revealed that no one answered her queries regarding the ban and was upset that it took her a year to reach 300 concurrent viewers and it was tarnished due to a non-issue.
Twitch decided to remove the tag blind playthrough from its categories in what is possibly one of the most bizarre decisions of all time taken by the company. Apparently, the term is offensive to blind people and cannot be used going forward. A blind playthrough of a game refers to a person playing a game for the first time with no prior experience or knowledge of the game.
Reckful is one of the first big streamers on Twitch, and he struggled with depression and mental issues for years. Many viewers within the Twitch community started harassing others. Just hours before Byron passed away, there were people who targeted him for proposing to someone he liked, and later, fans targeted controversial streamer Alinity because Reckful and she were on bad terms. Online hate and harassment have been major issues for Twitch and the platform continues to struggle at controlling it. Targeted harassment on social media platforms has been an issue forever and Twitch is no different.
Under a new TOS clause, the words “simp”, “virgin” and “incel” were banned from Twitch. While there is more nuance to the new rule, and suspensions will be handed out only if used offensively, many viewers and streamers started making fun of the new terms of service immediately. In fact, usage of the word simp doubled in the first two weeks of December. It is unknown how Twitch will manage its terms of service and enforce them.
Leafy is one of the biggest content creators on YouTube but his career was marred in controversy over the past few years. His content has always been controversial and was banned from YouTube for using racial slurs and threats. Twitch banned him for the same reason and mentioned that the content creator was banned for hateful conduct on the platform. He tried creating alternate accounts but was banned from them as well.
Dozens of women filed complaints of sexual assault in June and July against popular content creators and streamers on Twitch. The controversy began within the Destiny community with Say No To Rage being accused of sexual assault. It led to other women accusing other content creators of sexual assault. DOTA2 and Smash Bros players raked in the most number of allegations and Twitch began investigations after coming under fire. Multiple streamers like SNTR were banned from the platform while others lost sponsorships and partnerships with content channels. Not all of the allegations were proven and the situation had its fair share of false claims as well.
Erik Estavillo sued Twitch for $25 million for suggestive content on Twitch. Estavillo is no stranger to controversy as he has sued multiple corporate firms in the past for ludicrous amounts of money. He claimed that it is the fault of female streamers on the platform that he is addicted to and wanted the removal of the “overly suggestive and sexual content from various female streamers” which targeted numerous female streamers on the platform. A California court turned down his case but he wants to take it to a higher court next year.