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Unpacking Twitch's Deepfake Scandal

The Twitch community holds strong opinions about what should and shouldn't be allowed on the platform. For example, in the past, the controversy surrounding gambling on the site had pretty much every big-name streamer giving their two cents about whether Twitch should take action. But now, another topic of discussion has risen among the streaming community. Although the debate pertains to content outside the platform, it involves some of the biggest streamers — and it's a serious issue that few are taking lightly.

The topic revolves around deepfakes, which are images or clips created by AI using reference images of a real-life person. These can be used to falsely portray a person saying or doing pretty much anything without the referenced person's consent. Sometimes deepfakes are used for comedic purposes, like a video of James Bond reimagined as Jim Carrey, but the technology can also be dangerous. World leaders aren't the only ones falling victim to deepfake technology, as several Twitch streamers were recently involved in a troublesome deepfake scandal.

Deepfakes have real-world consequences

According to one Reddit thread, Twitch streamer Atrioc accidentally tabbed into what looked to be deepfake pornographic material of his colleagues while livestreaming. One of pictured streamers was QTCinderella, who did not take the situation lightly. Shortly after the incident, with tears in her eyes, QTCinderella expressed the pain she was going through to her viewers. "F*** the constant exploitation and objectification of women, it's exhausting," QTCinderella said. The streamer also stated that she would sue the website creator that hosted the nonconsensual pornographic content.

Other streamers who may have also been victims of the privacy intrusion also gave their take on the situation. For example, Maya Higa said that despite posting no sexual content throughout her career, she was caught up in the situation and stated that it made her "feel disgusting, vulnerable, nauseous, and violated." Pokimane stated that it doesn't matter what kind of content a streamer posts, sexual or not, they will still be sexualized by the public. "People can post whatever they want and that still means that you need their consent to do certain things," Pokimane argued.

Although deepfake pornography is technically legal — though some governments attempting to change that – the internet has rallied behind the victims of the recent Twitch Scandal. And despite Atrioc apologizing for leaking the content on his stream and the fact that the deepfake site in question has allegedly been taken down, it won't take away the pain this situation has caused the victims.