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Twitch has seen enough chaos this week to make the Don’t Worry Darling drama look ordinary.
The Amazon-owned livestreaming platform, which has an audience of around 31 million daily visitors, faced infighting and serious allegations among its most popular creators, bombshell reports about alleged child predators, and two major policy changes.
“This has been the most chaotic week on Twitch I’ve ever seen,” one person tweeted on Sept 19. “Twitch is blowing up with the most insane shit,” another person wrote on Sept. 20. And that was before half of the news even broke.
Let’s take a look at what went down this week.
Félix Lengyel, known on Twitch as xQc, clashed with his ex-girlfriend and fellow streamer Adept in front of more than 125,000 viewers on Sept. 15. During the emotional argument, the couple shouted at each other, and xQc claimed he was forced to choose between Adept and his family. The next day, Adept tweeted that she wished they had kept “personal matters personal.”
“xQc having a full blown argument with his ex Adept in front of 120k people is probably the greasiest thing I have seen on twitch in a long time. Dude is so delusional,” one viewer wrote on Twitter. Another called it “painful to watch.”
Fellow streamer QTCinderella tweeted (and later deleted) that xQc held his ex “hostage for content with an audience that hates women.” Hasan Piker (known on Twitch as HasanAbi) criticized the way xQc handled the breakup as well as his resulting absence from a major event for streamers called Shitcamp. xQc called Piker a “snake.”
On Sept. 20, xQc apologized to Adept as they met again on Twitch to livestream a game of Paint. Adept said she understood fans got “fired up” because they were both “emotional,” and xQc said he “flew off the handle.”
“I’m sorry it turned out this way,” xQc said. He later added, “There’s no enemy here.”
On Sept. 17, Twitch streamer Abraham “Sliker” Mohammed admitted in a video that he scammed fans and content creators out of at least $200,000 to support his gambling addiction (others claim the total is over $380,000, but this is unconfirmed). Sliker would say he needed the money because he was locked out of his bank account, then use the money to bet on the outcome of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive games and sports.
In response, streamers like Pokimane (Imane Anys) and Mizkif (Matthew Rinaudo) said they would boycott Twitch during Christmas week in protest of the platform’s gambling rules, according to Kotaku. XQc tweeted that he and fellow streamer Ludwig (Ludwig Ahgren) are working to get those scammed their money back.
After facing pressure from popular streamers, Twitch announced on Sept. 20 that it would end streaming of gambling websites that are banned in the US. Sports betting, fantasy sports, and poker will still be allowed.
The full policy will be released before the new rules take effect on Oct. 18. Twitch told Bloomberg in August that it was in the midst of a “deep-dive look into gambling behavior,” but wouldn’t tell the Washington Post how much of a role that investigation played into the company’s policy change.
Given the platform’s quick response to this issue, some users criticized Twitch for not doing more to end racism, hate raids, and sexual content, all of which have long been targets of criticism. A source involved in the gambling policy update told BuzzFeed News that it has been in the works for several months.
In an argument that started over the gambling ban, slot gambling streamer Trainwreckstv accused fellow Twitch streamer Mizkif of covering up an alleged sexual assault.
Streamer AdrianahLee said during a livestream that CrazySlick, Mizkif’s friend and former housemate, sent her sexually charged messages and touched her when she passed out at a party. CrazySlick denied the assault allegations in a Sept. 19 tweet.
“I have never sexually assaulted someone and never will,” CrazySlick said in a now-deleted tweet captured by the Verge. “I am getting a lawyer ASAP. Learn from the Johnny Depp situation and think first.”
AdrianahLee said Mizkif and his then-girlfriend Maya Higa coached her on what to say so she could avoid being “socially excluded” after the alleged incident. AdrianahLee played clips of Mizkif calling the alleged assault “harassment.”
Mizkif wrote in a Sept. 20 statement that he made “inexcusable statements” and apologized to AdrianahLee and “all those affected by sexual harassment” for downplaying CrazySlick’s alleged actions.
That’s not all he apologized for.
On Sept. 20, streamer Ice Poseidon shared messages Mizkif sent in 2018 and 2019 in which Mizkif used racial and anti-gay slurs.
In his statement, Mizkif acknowledged he said “reprehensible things” in the 2018 messages and apologized for “bad judgment.”
“I was a dumb, edgy guy who said a lot of stupid things to my friends to try and come off as funny and cool,” he said. “I can’t change what I’ve said, but I can change who I am and how I conduct myself.”
Mizkif said he is taking a leave of absence from his organizational duties at OTK, a content creation company. The company issued a statement confirming his leave and announcing plans to hire a third party to investigate Mizkif’s actions.
On Sept. 21, a Bloomberg News investigation found up to 279,000 children were targeted by predatory accounts on the streaming platform between October 2020 and August 2022. Their research found a total of 1,976 users were systematically following young streamers during this time, sometimes encouraging them to perform dances or other actions.
“Even one single instance of grooming is abhorrent to us,” said Twitch’s chief product officer, Tom Verrilli, in response to the report. “If it’s valid, the data you reference demonstrates that we are not offering the level of protection we strive for yet — which is deeply upsetting. This work is vitally important to everyone at Twitch, and we’ll never stop.”
A spokesperson for Twitch said the platform has “numerous additional updates in development” that can detect and remove predators, but Bloomberg News identified many instances of apparent child grooming that may have gone unreported.
As if the week wasn’t busy enough, Twitch President Dan Clancy published a blog post on Sept. 21 in which he announced plans to standardize the company’s revenue-sharing agreement with streamings. Top creators have historically been offered a 70/30 share of subscription profits, which is better than the standard 50/50 revenue split offered to new creators.
Twitch subscriptions start at $4.99 per month and offer viewers a way to support streamers in return for special access and perks. Amazon Prime subscribers get one free Twitch subscription every month, and Twitch itself covers the cost for that.
“We don’t believe it’s right for those on standard contracts to have varied revenue shares based on the size of the streamer,” Clancy wrote. The adjustment will affect the major Twitch streamers who helped build the platform.
Bloomberg News reported in April that Twitch was looking to tweak its revenue share agreements with top streamers to boost profits. More than 22,000 streamers have asked the platform to move all creators to a 70/30 split, but instead, Twitch plans to do the opposite.
Clancy said part of the reason for the change is the cost of doing business with Amazon’s video services. But Amazon owns Twitch. A source familiar with the policy update told BuzzFeed News that Amazon is offering them a service that must be paid for no matter who owns them.
“Twitch’s position here appears to be, incredibly, that Amazon is charging Amazon so much money to run the business via Amazon that it has no choice but to take more money from streamers,” tweeted tech reporter Sam Biddle.
Streamers were, predictably, upset about this.
“What a mess. Owned by Amazon and acting like some amateur platform. It’s no wonder so many of your partners are jumping ship to YT,” wrote Jacksepticeye, who left Twitch for YouTube Gaming. “its quite obvious the leaders at twitch are lost at what to do to make twitch more profitable,” Ice Poseidon tweeted.
Former Twitch employees like Theo Browne and djWHEAT (Marcus Graham) organized a Twitter space in which they discussed concerns about monetization on Twitch and encouraged creators to diversify their revenue streams with services like YouTube and Patreon.
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