Twitch in Tailspin, Walking Back Restrictions As Users Revolt Over Changes

Photo Credit: Thomas De Braekeleer

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

The new platform rules would prevent any advertising partnerships outside of Twitch-supported ads. That means no ‘burned-in’ video, display, or audio ads are allowed anymore. Burned-in ads are popular ways for brands to support Twitch streamers, with their logo or advertising appearing somewhere during the stream. These rules were not discussed with the community before they were rolled out—resulting in 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,” one creator network wrote to the platform on Twitter. “Reductions to creator subscription revenue, inconsistent moderation policies, and attacks on creators’ abilities to pursue their own independent revenue streams have transformed Twitch into one of the least creator-friendly platforms in social media. It has undermined the very ecosystem that helped Twitch become 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 holding sway over live streaming are coming to an end. Insurgent platforms are on the rise, short-form content has seized Gen Z market share, and for the first time, the very creators that elevated your platform are building your largest and most threatening competitors. If Twitch continues to erode the autonomy and livelihoods of the millions of streamers who call their service home, you will have to watch as those same streamers pack up and take their talents to the platforms that put them first.”

Following the massive backlash echoing these sentiments, Twitch quickly rolled back the policy. “Yesterday, we released new branded content guidelines that impacted your ability to work with sponsors to increase your income from streaming. These guidelines are bad for you and bad for Twitch,” the statement reads.

“Sponsorships are critical to streamers’ growth and ability to earn income. We will not prevent your ability to enter into direct relationships with sponsors—you will continue to own and control your sponsorship business.”

Despite that statement, ‘burn-in’ advertising is against the new Twitch terms of service. Section 12 of the Twitch ToS governs how advertisements can appear on the platform. It reads, “Twitch has the exclusive right to monetize the Twitch Services, including without limitation, the exclusive right to sell, service, and display advertisements on the Twitch Services. This means you may not, nor may you allow a third party to, insert or embed pre-recorded advertising units into your live stream, including without limitation video advertisements, display, or banner advertisements, or audio advertisements.”