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Twitch Boost feature paused after porn appears on front page

Sexually explicit content violates Twitch's community guidelines, but that didn't stop people from abusing boosts to promote porn.

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Twitch has indefinitely paused its “Boost Train” feature which allowed users to pay to increase a channel’s discoverability after people started using it to push pornography onto the website’s front page.

As reported by outlets like PC Gamer, Twitch users first began encountering porn on the front page back in March under the recommended “Live channels we think you’ll like” category. 

While there’s an option for users to remove recommendations they aren’t interested in, porn included, sexually explicit content violates Twitch’s community guidelines. As such, it isn't something Twitch wants its users boosting in the first place.

Commenting on this, a Twitch spokesperson told Kotaku:

Twitch’s “Boost This Stream” feature first launched back in December of 2020 and originally allowed users to boost streams in exchange for free channel points. Paid boosts were later announced in September of 2021 and worked similarly to boosting via free channel points, with the exception of real money being used.

Naturally, the idea of paid boosts wasn’t particularly popular among Twitch users. Because of this, it’s no surprise the Paid Boosts program ended near the end of 2021. Intent on reworking the idea, Twitch debuted a similar feature called “Boost Train” back in March of this year. 

With Boost Train, Twitch users could boost a channel using subscription purchases and bits. Unfortunately, a new boosting issue was created with users able to pay to promote anything they like, porn included.

The original goal of these Twitch boosts was seemingly to help promote smaller channels grow an audience, but given the disposable income larger channels have, paid boosting has been seen as something that disproportionately benefits channels that don’t need it.

Furthermore, all of the money spent on boosts goes directly to Twitch, none of it goes to the channels that people are paying to boost. The matter is a complicated one, and it’ll be interesting to see if Twitch can figure out a way to make boosts work given the feature is only on pause, rather than being scrapped entirely.

Remarking on the situation and elaborating on its complexity in a statement to Kotaku, Twitch reporter Zach Bussey stated:

It’ll be interesting to see if Twitch can figure out a way to reintroduce boosts, or a similar concept that increases channel discoverability, in a way that’s favorable to the community, and in a way that prevents bad actors from using it to promote explicit content. 

With that said, we’re curious to hear your thoughts on the matter. What do you think of the idea of paid boosts on Twitch? Do you think there’s a way for Twitch to incorporate the idea, or should they toss it out entirely and go back to the drawing board? Jump in Chatty and let us know!

For more on Twitch, be sure to read about Marc Rebillet’s new Amazon Music Twitch show called We’ve Got Company

Senior Editor

Morgan is a writer from the frozen wastelands of Maine who enjoys metal music, kpop, horror, and indie games. They're also a Tetris fanatic who's fiercely competitive in games like Tetris 99... and all games in general. But mostly Tetris. You can follow Morgan on Twitter @Author_MShaver.

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