Friday, September 30

Twitch Pauses ‘Boost’ Feature After Porn Sneaks Onto Front Page

An image of a slightly blurred Twitch logo set against a Kotaku Dot Com yellow background.

Image: Twitch / Kotaku

Twitch just can’t seem to scrub porn off its platform. Thanks to the “Boost This Stream” feature the Amazon-owned company introduced last October, viewers are paying to promote, or “boost,” sexually explicit content onto the platform’s front page. Unsurprisingly, Twitch has paused the boosting feature indefinitely.

According to reports from Dot Esports and PC Gamer, folks on Twitch started seeing lewd content on their front pages on or around March 30. The videos, which feature stuff you’d probably see on something like PornHub, allegedly popped up in the recommended “Live channels we think you’ll like” category that appears just under the site’s main carousel. It’s likely not meant to be there as it violates Twitch’s community guidelines, but because of the Boost This Stream feature, some likely previously obscure Twitch accounts are paying real money to push this content up.

Boost This Stream, which was in testing last year before receiving some tweaks and making a comeback this March as Boost Train, lets viewers pay to help lift a content creator’s channel for greater discoverability. It’s an automatic, supercharged Hype Train that’s supposed to benefit smaller streamers. Instead, some folks are using the tool for porn, despite sites like PornHub being readily accessible.

When reached for comment, a Twitch spokesperson told Kotaku the company is going back to the drawing board on how to improve platform discoverability.

“We’ve decided to pause Boost Train due to some safety considerations that came up through the experiment,” the spokesperson said. “Our experiments help us learn and make even better tools for the community, and we’re using the feedback from this experiment to inform how we approach future launches. We’ll share additional updates with our community around new features to help improve discoverability, as available. Sexually explicit content—including pornography—is not allowed on Twitch, per our community guidelines.”

Twitch reporter Zach Bussey, who also tweeted a screenshot of porn on the platform’s front page, told Kotaku over direct message the predicament is “interesting” for Twitch.

“Twitch’s bad actors are interesting because not even financial restrictions seem to stop them,” Bussey said. “The Boost Train and Front Page slot that comes from the boost would require an affiliated (monetized) channel getting financial support from several people for it to be activated. The [feature], which is a slight change from previous Boost This Stream and Channel Points Boost tests they’ve done in the past, is deeply unpopular with the community. No one likes it, and while this is possibly the least offensive way to introduce it…it should’ve never been released. Monetizing front page discovery for a service that struggles to offer any discovery is a recipe for disaster—and so here we are.”

It’s unclear when the Boost This Stream feature will return or whether it’ll receive more changes as the Twitch spokesperson could only reiterate that it’s “on pause” for now.

 



Reference-kotaku.com

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