Twitch has paused its Boost Train feature, which allowed people to pay to promote streams. That’s because porn showed up in people’s feeds.
The pause comes after several people shared screenshots of their Twitch homepage, which featured porn. The label ‘Promoted by the Streamer’s Community’ was slapped onto the thumbnails – which made it seem pretty official.
The pornographic thumbnails showed up on user’s Twitch homepages under the ‘Live Channels We Think You’ll Like’ section. Users could use the ‘Boost Train’ feature to get their videos promoted to this section.
“Twitch is pausing Boost Train due to some safety considerations that came up through the experiment,” Twitch Head of Communications Sam Faught told Digital Music News. Faught says Twitch will “share additional updates with our community around new features to help improve discoverability, as available.”
Twitch doesn’t outright admit the Boost Train feature was disabled due to porn – but it’s pretty obvious this was the end result.
The three accounts that appeared to be using the feature maliciously have been suspended for violating Twitch’s community guidelines. Any accounts caught streaming porn or other content against the rules can be banned under Twitch’s terms of service. It’s unclear if the users promoting the pornographic streams were trying to get the feature disabled – or just showing how it could be exploited.
Gaming site Kotaku inquired if the Boost Train feature will ever make a return. Twitch only confirms that the feature has been paused, not if it will return again in the future. Twitch has been experimenting with discoverability features on the platform as TikTok moves into live streaming.
In December 2021, TikTok launched a desktop streaming software called TikTok Live Studio. It allows users to stream directly to TikTok Live – putting it in direct competition with services like Twitch and YouTube. The move is intended to keep TikTok users on the platform for their live streaming instead of directing them to competitors.