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New Misleading Twitch Meta Has Streamers Seeing Red

Twitch is constantly evolving and adding new features. Unfortunately, however, new features can occasionally backfire and have unintended effects on the community. For example, in October of last year, streamers used Twitch's "pay-to-win" feature to get NSFW content on the front page. Now, the trend continues, as a handful of popular streamers have started to abuse Twitch's tag feature.

Twitch's tags aren't much different from other social media hashtags. Tags help categorize content and give users a quick overview of a stream before tuning in. However, Twitch recently expanded the feature. Last year the site added 350 new tags for streamers to use. According to its update blog, Twitch implemented these new tags to "help every community, but especially those that are underrepresented, grow and thrive." While the tags may have helped niche content creators — including Virtual YouTubers such as Nyanners – rise to popularity on the site, some argue that the tags are failing to accomplish their original goal of helping the underrepresented grow.

Unfortunately, big streamers have been abusing the tags feature as of late to get their content into categories where they don't belong. Part of the issue is that streamers are asked to self-identify what kind of content they're broadcasting, which can lead to some misidentification or intentionally misleading labels. By saying that they're streaming in other categories, like Vtubing, some internet celebrities can expose their brand to a new audience, acquiring viewers that might not have found them otherwise. Of course, this tactic also runs the risk of infuriating the community those tags are actually meant for. This blatant misuse of the tags feature has streamers, specifically VTubers, in an uproar. 

This isn't the first time tags have been misused

This isn't the first time tags have been misused, though, and it certainly won't be the last. Back in 2021, ASMR streams took the place of the controversial hot tub meta, giving viewers something new to be angry about. These ASMR streams went beyond making soft noises into a high-quality mic, and often included formfitting clothing and suggestive poses. The undertone of these ASMR stream was often sexual, so when Twitch took action against Amouranth, demonetizing her platform over one such ASMR stream, other personalities — like xQc — took notice.

At the time, xQc didn't pull any punches when talking about Amouranth's punishment, saying that streamers should wait to speak to Twitch corporate before speaking out. xQc also admitted that Amouranth likely took a blow for other streamers in the ASMR meta, and that her ban was a warning to others to tone down their material. Some viewers have commented that Amouranth's ASMR content doesn't even take much effort, and suspect that viewers may have ulterior motives when viewing. Regardless, it's clear that the ASMR meta has come under fire for using suggestive clothing and poses to permeate the category of those who make more traditional ASMR content. It's difficult for more traditional ASMR streamers to compete with the newer, steamier streams. 

Similarly, VTubers trying to make a name for themselves on Twitch are now competing with pre-established streamers who don't belong under the VTuber tag — and this time, xQc is part of it.

It's damaging smaller communities

Recently, popular streamers such as xQc, Amouranth, and Mizkif were spotted tagging their content with the labels "VTuber" and or "ASMR." What may be a harmless joke to these internet celebrities is seriously affecting smaller content creators, according to some. Many VTubers, in particular, weren't shy about expressing their outrage.

Specifically, GreyT tweeted a screenshot of Amouranth's stream boasting the VTuber tag, accompanied with a caption reading, "Seriously Amouranth and many other people are using the Vtuber tag and it's misleading and disrespectful to actual Vtuber that want to grow on Twitch." This is a fair argument, as big streamers inhabiting these categories could overshadow small VTubers that belong there and are trying to grow their channel.

Additionally, some VTubers have pointed out how the blatant abuse of tags is against the rules. For example, VTuber Merciful tweeted a picture of Mizkif's stream in the VTuber category when the popular streamer was reacting to content in an IRL stream — with no virtual avatar in sight. Merciful wrote, "You aren't a VTuber please don't use the VTuber tag. Using the wrong tags is against TOS." This is also an accurate point, as Twitch's Terms of Service explicitly prohibit the intentional misuse of tags.

However, Twitch has yet to take action on the matter. And as Amouranth has famously pointed out, Twitch isn't always fair when it comes to who it bans, so there's a chance these big streamers are safe from punishment.