A month after Twitch streamer Brandon “Atrioc” Ewing accidentally revealed that he was watching sexually explicit deepfakes of his fellow streamers while on stream, Twitch has issued a lengthy statement regarding its stance on the controversy and what the company is calling “synthetic non-consensual exploitative images” or NCEI in general.
The lengthy community update, titled “Addressing Explicit Deepfake Content,” was shared today, March 7 alongside the announcement that Twitch is hosting a Creator Camp on March 14 to “help protect women streamers.” The update references the Atrioc incident, which directly affected several prominent streamers like Pokimane, Sweet Anita, and QTCinderella, who were victims of the deepfake content in question.
“In January, a brief ‘deepfake porn’ incident was live streamed on Twitch,” the post reads. “This moment caused immense distress to those whose images were used without their consent, and set off a wave of conversations about the dangers that AI-generated explicit imagery can pose.”
The post goes on to state that “deepfake porn isn’t a problem on Twitch, but it’s a terrible issue that some streamers (almost exclusively women) may face on the internet at large.” And even though this kind of content isn’t prominent on Twitch (aside from Atrioc briefly revealing a site that contained deepfakes of popular streamers), the company states that it wants “to help streamers protect themselves or respond quickly to this kind of situation anywhere it arises.”
“In the weeks since the event, we’ve been listening to the community, talking with streamers, and consulting with experts in the field about how to keep streamers protected—on and off our service.”
Twitch also states that, while “deepfake porn” is the commonly used term, their consultation with “experts” suggests that the term synthetic NCEI is more appropriate, as “porn (while prohibited on Twitch) should be consensual and should feature people who know they’re taking part in activities that others are going to see. That’s not what’s happening here...”
In response to the scandal, Twitch is updating two of its policies that will be implemented in updates over the next month:
1. We’re updating our Adult Sexual Violence and Exploitation policy to make it more clear that intentionally promoting, creating, or sharing synthetic NCEI can result in an indefinite suspension on the first offense.
2. We’re updating our Adult Nudity policy to include synthetic NCEI. Even if that NCEI is shown only briefly, or, for example, shown to express your outrage or disapproval of the content, it will be removed and will result in an enforcement.
The company states that it’s working with law professor and vice president of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative Daniel Keats Citron along with employees of the UK Revenge Porn Helpline to “make sure we’re addressing this topic from multiple, valuable perspectives.”
Finally, the statement announces a Creator Camp led by Revenge Porn helpline manager and Twitch streamer Zara Ward taking place on March 14 before listing a few resources we’ve linked above.
While it’s great to see Twitch making a big, bold statement about the scandal, it’s certainly a bit frustrating that it comes over a month after the inciting incident took place. Did the company want to wait until Women’s History Month kicked off before it started loudly supporting its women-identifying creators or...?
Kotaku has reached out to Twitch for comment and will update the story accordingly.