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Twitch’s revised policy on nudity permits the depiction of nipples in illustrations, but explicitly prohibiting the exposure of human underboob.

Twitch has announced major changes to its sexual content policy and content categorization system, allowing previously forbidden material such as drawn nipples and “erotic dances,” as well as defining what nudity is and isn’t permitted on the site.

The move comes in the aftermath of the huge “topless meta” outrage that erupted when streamer and OnlyFans model Morgpie became popular for being nude in recent broadcasts. Morgpie’s “topless” streams were framed such that her bare shoulders, upper breast, and cleavage were visible. The framing suggested nudity, although the material never expressly broke Twitch’s sexual content restrictions. Other broadcasters, mostly men, were outraged by Morgpie’s material and demanded that Twitch clamp down on the apparent nudity. She was banned on December 11, only two days before Twitch changed its content guidelines. Jessica Ly, better known as Asian Bunnyx, a streamer, has created comparable material without getting banned.

The new policy is rigorously comprehensive and covers a wide range of scenarios, but it also seems to contradict itself. Cartoon boobs, for example, are only permitted in certain circumstances.

“Fictionalized”—drawings, animations, or sculpted renderings—of fully-exposed breasts and any butts or genitals, regardless of gender—are acceptable, but “augmented reality avatars that translate real-life movement into digital characters” (read: VTubers) must follow the same dress code as regular streamers. Female-presenting human nipples must be hidden. Cleavage remains “unrestricted.” Displaying “underbust” is still prohibited.

Twitch’s attitude on sideboob is unknown.

According to a Twitch representative, the company has been revising its content moderation for the last year, with an emphasis on updating community standards in response to input from broadcasters. Twitch thinks that defining what is and isn’t permitted would make it simpler for broadcasters to comply with its standards. The spokesman also said that the company is currently experimenting with subtlety and context, and that rather than relying on punitive content control, Twitch prefers to keep consumers aware.

The upgrade is intended to simplify the platform’s response to sexual material and modify prior restrictions that punished female broadcasters unfairly. Twitch has previously implemented distinct regulations for “sexually suggestive” and “sexually explicit” material, further complicating matters. These are currently being merged into a single “Sexual Content Policy.” The company’s video classification guidelines (CCLs), which were released in June, now include information on when streamers should mark their videos with “sexual themes.”

“We believe that accurate content labeling is key to helping viewers get the experience they expect, and now that we can enable appropriate labeling of sexual content using CCLS, we believe that some of the restrictions in our former policies are no longer required,” Twitch wrote in a blog post announcing the update. “In addition to providing clarity, these updates will also reduce the risk of inconsistent enforcement and bring our policy more in line with other social media services.”

Streams marked for “drugs, intoxication, or excessive tobacco use,” “violent and graphic depictions,” “gambling,” and “sexual themes” will not be pushed on Twitch’s homepage suggestions under the new policy, but will allow for more filthy material that was previously not permitted on the network. Twitch said in a blog post that this strategy would prevent viewers from viewing anything that they had not agreed to watch. Viewers will still be able to browse straight to the stations that are broadcasting such stuff. Streams with explicit game and profanity tags may still appear in homepage suggestions.

Twitch did not immediately react to a request for comment from Eltrys on whether marking their broadcasts as including such material would harm streamers’ ad income.

Content that was previously prohibited on the site, such as artistic portrayals of breasts, buttocks, and genitals, is now permitted if properly labeled. The puritanical limits on suggestive pictures sparked debate within Twitch’s art community, as Twitch recognized in a blog post. “Erotic dances,” such as strip teases, twerking, grinding, and pole dancing, are also permitted to be streamed as long as they are identified. Streaming from a strip joint or other “adult entertainment establishment” is illegal.

The changes seem to be in response to long-standing community concerns about Twitch’s disproportionate moderating of female broadcasters. In 2018, the business sought to limit obscene and sexually explicit streaming by implementing a dress code that said that streamer apparel should be “appropriate for a public street, mall, or restaurant.” In 2020, the site amended its clothing rules, emphasizing that streamers might display cleavage but not nipples or underboobs.

Although the standards permitted the enormously popular hot tub streaming as long as streamers wore swimsuits, the dress regulation nevertheless targeted women for wearing anything that may be perceived as provocative. Countless female broadcasters have been suspended or banned after viewers mass-reported them for improper apparel, and many have stated that the platform’s regulation was used as a form of sexist, targeted abuse.

Twitch previously barred streaming that “deliberately highlighted breasts, buttocks, or the pelvic region,” even if broadcasters were completely clothed. The guidelines for such material were ambiguous and inconsistently implemented. It is now permitted, as long as it is legal.

“Streamers found it difficult to determine what was prohibited and what was allowed, and often evaluating whether or not a stream violated this portion of the policy was subjective,” according to the release from Twitch. “In addition, the former Sexually Suggestive Content policy was out of line with industry standards and resulted in female-presenting streamers being disproportionately penalized.”

According to Twitch’s Sexual Content Policy, the context of individual broadcasts determines the clothing that is acceptable on the website. According to Twitch’s Community Guidelines, clothing that is appropriate for a beach or gym show may “not be acceptable for a cooking or gameplay broadcast.” Additionally, the company stated that it is still against wearing clothing that is “intended to be sexually suggestive,” which appears to have a disproportionately negative impact on female streamers who risk having viewers sexualize them regardless of what they are wearing.

In a message to Dexerto, Morgpie, who is still banned, complimented Twitch’s change.

“With the updated terms of service, content on Twitch containing mature themes will be allowed but no longer pushed on the homepage of the site,” she went on to say. “I believe this is the best outcome possible because it gives creators much more freedom while also preventing this content from reaching the wrong audience.” Twitter, you rock!”

Eltrys Team
Author: Eltrys Team

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