Gaming

Twitch Suspends Boost Feature Due to Porn Ads Epidemic

Image of a slightly blurred Twitch logo against a yellow background by Kotaku Dot Com.

Image: Twitch / Kotaku

Twitch is simple can’t delete porn from your platform. Thanks to “Increase this flow” the Amazon-owned company introduced last October, viewers pay for promotion, or “promote” sexually explicit content on the main page of the platform. Not surprisingly, Twitch has suspended the boost feature indefinitely.

According to reports from Dot eSports as well as PC gamerpeople on twitch started seeing obscene content on their front pages on or around March 30. Videos that have material that you’re likely to see on something like PornHub supposedly appeared in the featured “Direct Channels We Think You’ll Like” category that appears right below the site’s main carousel. It probably shouldn’t be there as it violates Twitch community guidelines, but due to the Boost This Stream feature, some probably previously obscure Twitch accounts are paying real money to promote this content.

Boost This Stream, which was tested last year before getting some tweaks and returning this March as fast train, allows viewers to pay to help promote a content creator’s channel so it’s easier to discover. It’s automatic, supercharged Hype train this should benefit smaller streamers. Instead, some people use this tool to watch porn, even though sites like PornHub are easily accessible.

When we reached out for comment, a Twitch spokesperson said: Kotaku the company is returning to the drawing board to improve platform detection.

“We have decided to put Boost Train on hold due to some safety concerns that arose during the course of the experiment,” a spokesperson said. “Our experiments help us learn and build even better tools for the community, and we use the feedback from this experiment to guide how we approach future launches. We will share additional updates with our community about new features to help improve detection as they become available. Sexual content, including pornography, is prohibited on Twitch. community rules“.

Twitch reporter Zach Bassi, who also tweeted a screenshot of porn on the main page of the platformsaid Kotaku over a direct message the predicament is “interesting” for Twitch.

“Bad actors on Twitch are interesting because even financial restrictions don’t stop them,” Bassi said. “The boosted Boost Train and Front Page slot will require an affiliated (monetized) channel to receive financial support from multiple people to activate it. [feature], which is a slight change from the previous Boost This Stream and Channel Points Boost tests they’ve run in the past, is highly unpopular with the community. Nobody likes it, and while that’s perhaps the least offensive way to present it… it should never have been released. Monetizing discoveries on the front page for a service that struggles to offer any discoveries is a recipe for disaster, and that’s why we’re here.”

It’s not yet clear when the Boost This Stream feature will return or if it will receive additional changes, as a Twitch rep could only reiterate that it’s “on pause” for now.




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