Category Archives: Twitch

Twitch Will Let You Ban Users From Your Streams

Twitch’s chat ban tools have been around for ages, but the platform is about to hand streamers a way to control who can watch a stream to begin with, TechCrunch reported.

According to TechCrunch, in Twitch’s latest episode of Patch Notes its monthly product update show, the company announced that it would soon let streamers block banned users from watching streams. If moderators or streamers enable the feature, banned users will be booted not only out of chat but out of a livestream itself in real time.

When it rolls out within the next few weeks, the new anti-harassment feature will also become a built-in part of Twitch’s blocking tools, with blocked users automatically prevented from viewing a stream.

TechCrunch also reported that when dealing with banned users, the feature won’t be enabled by default, but streamers will be able to toggle the option within moderation settings. In the Patch Notes stream, Twitch Senior Product Manager Trevor Fisher explained that the long-requested safety addition is a first step towards what could be a more robust solution down the road.

Engadget reported that the new blocking feature will roll out in the next few weeks.

According to Engadget, Senior Product Manager Trevor Fisher stated: “The way that it will work is if you ban somebody and they’re currently watching, then the stream playback will be interrupted for them so that they immediately lose the ability to view the stream,” he explained. “And then if you go offline, you stream again, they won’t be able to watch your subsequent streams either until you choose to un-ban them.” He said it would have the same effect regardless of whether the streamer or a moderator bans someone: That person can’t watch your streams until they’re unblocked.

That said, Engadget reported that there is one significant limitation to the new feature that it only applies to logged-in users. Anyone viewing a stream while logged out of their account can still watch it. Twitch isn’t blocking IP addresses (at least for now), which leaves room for the noteworthy exception.

Gizmodo reported that users who get hit with a ban will be immediately removed from viewing the video stream, and they will be blocked from watching any future stream. It won’t stop users from watching VODs, highlights, or clips, but Twitch product manager Trevor Fisher said they’re planning to add that functionality in a future update. He also mentioned that currently, banned users are banned from streamers’ followers list.

Personally, I think it is an excellent idea for Twitch to make it harder for terrible humans to pop into someone’s stream to specifically harass the streamer. It makes more work for moderators, and the streamer, who aren’t there to allow a toxic environment to brew in their chat.

Sure, a banned person could watch the streamer’s VODs. That won’t enable them to interact directly with the streamer they want to harass, or to bother anyone in the streamer’s chat. I suspect the bad people will get bored when they realize they no longer have a way to chat (or harass) people on Twitch.

Twitch’s New Partner Plus Tier Launches In October

Twitch is introducing a new “Partner Plus” program that will give streamers an increase 70 percent of the share of their subscription revenues – up to the first $100,000 brought each year – with Twitch taking the other 30 percent, The Verge reported.

According to The Verge, most partnered streamers receive 50 percent of their subscription revenues, though Twitch had negotiated 70/30 deals with some of the platform’s biggest streamers until last fall when it announced that those deals would eventually get this same $100,000 cut-off. The new program doesn’t seem to change those “premium subscription terms,” but it could give many more streamers access to the higher split.

The Verge also reported that on Twitch, streamers have access to a much larger pool of viewers and subscribers had pushed for the service to introduce a 70/30 split for all, especially considering the competition. Meta is taking no subscription cut through the rest of 2023 across Facebook and Instagram, including Facebook Gaming, while YouTube Gaming offers a 70/30 split on “fan funding” like memberships and superheats. Kick, a newer competitor that launched in January advertises a 95/5 split on subscription services.

Twitch streamers will need to keep a sub count of at least 350 “recurring paid subscriptions for three consecutive months” to qualify for the program, the company’s chief monetization officer Mike Minton and chief content officer Laura Lee said in Twitch’s blog post.

TechCrunch reported that Twitch is launching something called the Partner Plus program. Streamers who qualify for Partner Plus will get 70% of the revenue they generate from monthly subscriptions and gift subscriptions. But the program does have some caveats. For one, only the first $100,000 earned annually is eligible for the 70/30 breakdown.

Beyond that, the Partner Plus program also requires that streamers maintain a minimum of 350 paid subscribers for three consecutive months to be eligible – a requirement that will freeze out a wide swath of streamers just getting started. Once a streamer qualifies for Partner Plus, they’ll be enrolled for 12 months (and not kicked out if they go below the 350 sub threshold).

Engadget reported that Partner Plus launches October 1st, and will automatically include anyone who meets the requirements for the three prior months. The program will be available worldwide, and doesn’t offer anything beyond what Premium Partners (major creators who’ve negotiated special deals) receive.

According to Engadget, this effort comes months after Twitch announced plans for an identical cap for Premium Partners. Twitch president at the time (now CEO) Dan Clancy claimed in September this wouldn’t affect 90 percent of relevant streamers, and that increased ad payouts would help to make up the difference.

However, Engadget noted, that might still irk major streamers who depend on Twitch for a living – they’re effectively taking a pay cut. There’s a risk this may prompt other streamers to jump to YouTube and other platforms if they receive more lucrative terms.

In my opinion, it appears that Twitch might be offering the Partner Plus tier in an effort to entice new streamers to join Twitch and stay on their platform. Based on what has been reported, it appears that Kick, which offers streamers a 95/5 split, is probably the best choice for new streamers.

Twitter Labeled NPR as “State-Affiliated Media”

NPR reported that Twitter CEO Elon Musk said the platform’s recent labeling of NPR as “state-affiliated media” might not have been accurate during a series of email exchanges that provided a glimpse into the billionaire’s thought process on decisions that reverberate far beyond the social network.

Regardless, as of late Tuesday, the designation remained.

According to NPR, on Wednesday, press freedom advocates and the network itself were taken aback to see that Twitter had placed NPR in the same category as government-aligned propaganda outlets in China and Russia – despite the network’s federal support, in the form of competitive grants, accounting for about 1% of its annual operating budget.

In one email exchange, Musk appeared to be unclear about the difference between public media and state-controlled media when he decided to affix a state-affiliated media label on NPR’s account.

NPR provided Musk publicly available documentation of the network’s finances showing that nearly 40% of its funding comes from corporate sponsorships and 31% comes from fees for programming paid by local public radio stations. NPR also covers the news free of any government influence – something that should mean it does not receive state-affiliated labeling, according to Twitter’s own rules. 

NPR also reported that since Musk took over the platform in October, Twitter has at times taken a hostile stance toward the national press. Musk’s row with NPR is just the latest instance of the Twitter CEO’s increasingly confrontational stance toward the mainstream media, which often covers Musk and his companies critically.

The Guardian also reported that Twitter on Tuesday evening labeled the account of National Public Radio (NPR) as US state-affiliated media, drawing fierce criticism from the news organization’s leadership. 

Other publications with the label include Russian propaganda network RT and China’s Xinhua News Agency, The Guardian reported.

According to The Guardian, the change to NPR’s designation appears to be in violation of Twitter’s own original policy on how the social media platform determines which companies receive this label. “State-affiliated media is defined as outlets where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, direct or indirect political pressures, and/or control over production and distribution,” the policy reads.

The Guardian noted that Twitter explicitly listed NPR along with the BBC as exceptions to this categorization. The policy noted that while both organizations receive state financing,NPR derives less than 1% from its annual operating budget from government programs – they have editorial independence, according to screenshots posted by NPR reporter David Gura.

By Wednesday morning, however, the policy had been changed to remove the mention of NPR. The designation of the BBC’s Twitter account remained unchanged, and the organization was still included as an exception in the policy. 

The Guardian also reported that the Twitter accounts of other publications that recieve various degrees of state-funding, such as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the FlemishVRT NWS, have also been left untouched. 

To me, it sounds like one of two things have happened. Elon Musk doesn’t understand the definition of “state-affiliated media” – but allowed it to be added to NPR despite his misunderstanding. Or, it is possible that Elon Musk has decided to discriminate against news organizations that he doesn’t like. These kinds of snap decisions are not good for Twitter, and certainly aren’t good for Twitter’s users.

Twitch Expands Ad Programs To Pay Streamers More Money

Twitch announced an Ad Revenue Upgrade. It is intended to give bigger ad payouts to more creators through the Ads Incentive Program.

The premise of the Ads Incentive Program (AIP) is simple: each month a creator gets an offer. If they stream for a specific amount of hours in that month with a specific ad-density, they’ll receive a predetermined payout. Let the Ads Manager handle the ads and at the end of the month you get paid.

Right now, this offer is only for Twitch Partners. However, Twitch says that they will have some good news for Affiliates coming in August. More specifically, in August, qualifying Affiliates will be able to set Ads Manager to three minutes (or more) per hour. Twitch says this will result in a 55% ad revenue split on the Affiliates payout.

According to Twitch, they calculated Creator earnings from ads through a fixed CPM – a flat rate for every 1,000 ad views on their channel. To increase ad payouts and ensure they can pass price increased through to Creators, Twitch is moving away from their fixed CPM structure to a percentage-based revenue share model. The new model pays creators 55% of the revenue for each ad that runs on their stream. This change represents a 50-150% ad pay rate increase for the vast majority of Creators on Twitch.

There are some things to know about that. First, Twitch took CPM values and average CPMs during 2021 to estimate rates on an equivalent revenue share model. Ad revenue depends on a variety of factors, such as audience size, ad availability, language and geography, time of year, etc.

Also worth knowing: Payment will be made on a net basis, meaning revenue less (a) billing and other costs and fees paid to provide the Twitch Services; and (b) taxes, refunds, chargebacks, discounts and credits.

In addition, Twitch explained that AIP is optional. Creators (and later, affiliates) will be able to opt-in and opt-out at any time. Twitch also reassures that they won’t pay a Creator less ad money for opting into the Ads Incentive Program. If it turns out your AIP offer payout is lower than what you would have earned running ads outside of the program, Twitch will pay you the higher amount.

The Verge reported that Twitch will disable the highly annoying pre-roll ads for users who run ads for that same amount of time. According to Twitch, the 55 / 45 split of ad revenue will “ensure [Twitch] can pass price increases through to creators.”

Mike Minton, vice president of monetization at Twitch, sent an email to The Verge, in which he wrote the following: “We found that a fixed CPM model wasn’t the most straightforward way to share revenue with creators. So we’re now launching a new model that’s not only easier to understand but also increases ad payouts by paying creators 55 percent of the revenue for each ad that runs on their stream.”

To me, it sounds like Twitch Creators (and later, Twitch Affiliates) could make some money simply by allowing ads to clutter up their stream. I’m not sure that all the people who watch the streamers will want to see more ads than usual.

Twitch is Reportedly Planning to Cut Streamer Pay and Push More Ads

Bloomberg reported that Twitch (which is owned by Amazon) is reportedly weighing changes to how it pays top talent, according to people familiar with the planning. It appears Twitch is doing this to boost its profits – while at the same time, alienating some of its biggest stars.

The updates under consideration would offer incentives for streamers to run more ads. The proposal would also reduce the proportion of subscription fees doled out to the site’s biggest performers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

According to Bloomberg, some changes to Twitch’s monetization structure could be implemented as soon as this summer. Twitch staff is considering paring back the revenue cut of channel subscriptions granted to the top echelon of streamers in its so-called partnerships program to 50%, from 70%. Another option is to create multiple tiers and set criteria for how to qualify for each one. In exchange, Twitch may offer to release partners from exclusivity restrictions, allowing them to stream on Google’s YouTube or Facebook.

For The Win (via Microsoft News) reported that these changes could go live as early as this summer, or could be scrapped entirely. Currently, top-tier streamers earn as much as 70% of revenue from those who subscribe – $3.50 on every $5. These plans are looking at reducing that to 50% and increasing the rewards for running ads. Other possibilities include a sliding scale of rewards based on popularity and, presumably, profit generated.

For The Win also noted that ads on Twitch have become common and harder to avoid in recent years, with most major ad-blockers failing completely or being countered by Twitch’s own measures. The ‘purple screen of death’ that blocks content for 30 seconds every so often when an ad-blocker or other outside-influence is detected is infamous.

PC Gamer (via Microsoft News) reported that Twitch has already been doing a harder push for ads on the site this year. According to PC Gamer, Twitch is incentivizing streamers to run more ads by offering $100 for running 2 minutes of ads per hour, with proposals in place to create a new revenue-sharing model for ads.

In my opinion, pushing more and more ads isn’t a good idea. Ads prevent viewers from watching the game play of their favorite streamers. There will absolutely be a breaking point if the number of ads – and how often the ads are served – is overwhelming. People who are frustrated by the ads will leave Twitch – and that will make it even harder for streamers to make money through subscriptions.

Twitch Created Policies to Remove Misinformation Spreaders

The majority of the content on Twitch involves gaming – including a variety of video games and TTRPG games (like Dungeons & Dragons). Twitch has noticed that there are some people who want to use their Twitch stream to spread misinformation. Twitter addressed this in a post titled: “Preventing Harmful Misinformation Actors on Twitch”.

According to Twitch: This update will likely not impact you or the streamers you love on Twitch. Twitch made it clear that they will not enforce against one-off statements containing misinformation.

Here is what Twitch streamers need to know:

Twitch partnered with over a dozen researchers and experts to understand how harmful misinformation spreads online, and learned that Harmful Misinformation Actors account for a disproportionate amount of damaging, widely debunked misinformation online.

Twitch identified three characteristics that all of these actors share: Their online presence – whether on or off Twitch – is dedicated to: (1) persistently sharing (2) widely disproven and broadly shared (3) harmful misinformation topics, such as conspiracies that promote violence.

Twitch will only enforce against actors who meet all three of these criteria. Their Off-Service investigations team will be conducting thorough reviews in each case.

In addition, Twitch has updated its Community Guidelines to include the above information.

It also gave examples of misinformation that is not allowed:

Misinformation that targets protected groups

Harmful health misinformation and wide-spread conspiracy theories related to dangerous treatments, COVID-19, and COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.

This includes discussions of treatments that are known to be harmful without noting the dangers of the treatments. It also includes, for COVID-19 – and any other WHO-declared Public Health Emergency of International Concern – misinformation that causes imminent physical harm or is part of a broad conspiracy.

Misinformation promoted by conspiracy networks tied to violence and/or promoting violence

Civic misinformation that undermines the integrity of a civic or political process (examples, election rigging, ballot tampering, vote tallying, or election fraud)

Twitch may also act on misinformation that may impact public safety in instances of public emergencies (wildfires, earthquakes, active shootings)

In my opinion, Twitch made these new policies public now, just in case it has to use them to remove a streamer who spreads harmful misinformation (on Twitch or outside of it). Twitch doesn’t want an influx of misinformation spreaders who got kicked off other forms of social media.

Twitch has Been Hacked

Twitch, a streaming service where a lot of streamers make money by playing video games and interacting with those who come to watch, has been hacked. The news was first reported by Video Games Chronicle. It is highly recommended that those who have a Twitch account change their passwords and enable 2FA. It has also been recommended that streamers reset their stream key.

According to Video Games Chronicle, an anonymous hacker claims to have leaked the entirety of Twitch, including its source code and user payout information. One anonymous source at Twitch told Video Games Chronicle that the leaked data is legitimate, including the source code for the Amazon-zoned streaming platform.

Here’s what the leaked Twitch data reportedly includes:

  •  The entirety of Twitch’s source code with comment history “going back to its early beginnings”.
  •  Creator payout reports from 2019
  •  Mobile, desktop and console Twitch clients
  •  Proprietary SDKs and internal AWS services used by Twitch
  • “Every other property that Twitch owns” including IGDB and CurseForge
  •  An unrelated Steam competitor, codenamed Vapor, from Amazon Game Studios
  •  Twitch internal ‘red teaming’ tools (designed to improve security by having staff pretend to be hackers)

The Verge reported that the leak was legitimate and that it includes code that is as recent as this week. According to The Verge, this leak is labeled “part one”, indicating that there could be more to come.

The Verge also reported that an anonymous poster on the 4chan messaging board has released a 125GB torrent, which they claim includes the entirety of Twitch and its commit history. According to The Verge, the poster claimed that the leak is designed to “foster more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space.”

Twitch confirmed the breach on its Twitter account. @Twitch tweeted: “We can confirm a breach has taken place. Our teams are working with urgency to understand the extent of this. We will update the community as soon as additional information is available. Thank you for bearing with us.”

Twitch has been through a series of unfortunate events, most of which it failed to gain control of. Many streamers (especially people who are Black, LGBTQ+ or disabled) were hit by waves of “hate raids”. There are what seems to be an unending series of bots that come into streams and fill the chat with absolutely vile words. Many streamers collectively took a day off of Twitch in protest.