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Ninja Porn Fiasco Exposes Even More Serious Twitch Controversy

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By CCN Markets: As the streaming community reels from Twitch’s controversial decision to use Fortnite star Ninja‘s channel to highlight other streamers, accidentally promoting pornography in the process, some say that it has exposed a far more serious issue with the platform.

On Twitter, early Twitch investor and the company’s former vice president, Justin Wong, spoke about the “long-running internal conflict” as the Amazon-owned company tries to decide if the viewers belong to the streamers or the platform.

1/ Twitch’s decision to unilaterally promote other channels on @Ninja‘s channel represents a long-running internal conflict at Twitch: who owns the viewers – the streamer or the platform?

👇 a thread https://t.co/vrXMqIazZ9

— Justin Wong (@JustinWong) August 12, 2019

While Twitch provides the platform, it’s the streamers and their content that makes them stay. Wong revealed that users who visit an offline channel are “far more likely” to leave the platform than if they find a streamer who is online, which is why Twitch is now prioritizing efforts to “get you in front of content” as soon as possible.

Wong also says that it is unlikely that Twitch used Ninja’s channel to promote others out of any ill-feeling towards the Fortnite streamer, who is now exclusively streaming on Mixer.

“It seems vindictive, but I think it’s just out of touch,” Wong said. “Ninja should still own his channel, and while he may no longer be a Twitch partner after *EIGHT YEARS* of streaming, he’s still a user. And that’s a terrible way to treat your users.”

7/ @Ninja should still own his channel, and while he may no longer be a Twitch partner after *EIGHT YEARS* of streaming, he’s still a user. And that’s a terrible way to treat your users.

— Justin Wong (@JustinWong) August 12, 2019

This isn’t the first time that Twitch suffered streamer backlash after instituting controversial changes. Many smaller streamers also took umbrage when Twitch ran ads on their channels for Ninja’s New Year’s Eve event. Twitch eventually agreed to stop running ads for other streamers on user channels.

Unless your name is Ninja and you’ve just fled for Mixer, that is.

It’s pointless to demand that Twitch stop experimenting with ways to increase user engagement. However, to prevent any more drama, the company could get democratic with these tests.

Streamers may not be able to have a say on the minutiae, but allowing them to voice their opinions where it counts – such as features that could impact viewer acquisition – would be a great way to restore trust and dismiss accusations of mob rule. Having data and dialogue with users would mean that Twitch would be less likely to make decisions based on petitions or viral tweets from its top personalities.

Ninja left Twitch because he was disheartened, disgruntled, and – perhaps most importantly – because Microsoft offered him a hefty stack of money. Other streamers, such as Dr Disrespect, have said that they would move to Mixer too if offered a deal like that. Who wouldn’t?

To be sure, giving streamers more input certainly isn’t a cure-all. However, it might be enough to prevent Ninja’s high-profile departure from being the first rumbling of a mass streamer exodus.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

This article is protected by copyright laws and is owned by CCN Markets.

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