Twitch Addresses Deepfake Pornography Controversy, Updated Guidelines State It Is Grounds for Instant Ban

Gaming

Twitch is taking a strong stance against deepfake pornography. In a blog post, the live-streaming website stated that “synthetic non-consensual exploitative images” (NCEI) will no longer be tolerated on the platform. Twitch has updated its Adult Sexual Violence and Exploitation policy, making it clear that intentionally creating, sharing, or promoting non-consensual deepfake porn can lead to a ban on the first offence. Even if the image/ videos are shown briefly/ unintentionally — regardless of whether the streamer is trying to express disapproval or criticise its existence, will be met with enforcement as well. The new rules should take effect from next month.

The update comes in the wake of an incident in late January, where a well-known partnered Twitch streamer Atrioc briefly alt-tabbed on stream, exposing a browser tab where he was browsing deepfakes of fellow female streamers. Understandably, this led to an outrage, following which Atrioc went live once more to apologise and claim that he came to know of the website through an advertisement, and went further down the rabbit hole out of “morbid curiosity.” It is worth mentioning again that none of the women on the website consented to the sharing of those images. It is unclear if Twitch took any action against Atrioc at the time, but these updated guidelines provide deeper clarity into the penalties, going forward.

As stated before, Twitch will refer to such imagery as synthetic non-consensual exploitative images or synthetic NCEI for short. The company believes that calling it pornography is inappropriate and that a severe distinction has to be made since pornography would imply consensual acts performed by willing participants. Synthetic NCEI is already prohibited by Twitch, as of Tuesday, and going forward, the platform has been consulting with safety experts including the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI) vice president Danielle Keats Citron. Meanwhile, all kinds of pornography have been grounds for suspension on Twitch for a long time now.

  1. We’re updating our Adult Sexual Violence and Exploitation policy to make it more clear that intentionally promoting, creating, or sharing synthetic NCEI can result in an indefinite suspension on the first offence.
  1. We’re updating our Adult Nudity policy to include synthetic NCEI. Even if that NCEI is shown only briefly, or, for example, shown to express your outrage or disapproval of the content, it will be removed and will result in an enforcement.

“By learning from experts with years of experience, we can borrow from the industry’s best standards and practices when deciding how to protect our community. Their perspectives were key in helping us put together an upcoming Creator Camp session,” the blog post from Twitch states. The workshop will be conducted live by Zara Ward, a manager at the Revenge Porn Helpline and Twitch streamer, on March 14. “She’ll be joined by a member of our safety team to cover how and why synthetic NCEI is harmful, how to spot it, what to do if you find it, and how to protect yourself online,” the blog adds.

Twitch states that it will continue monitoring such behaviour to ensure that its policies remain relevant and updated to impose penalties on the offenders. That said, it is worth noting that the company held out for an entire month before providing a statement on the deepfake porn situation — almost as if they were waiting for Women’s History Month to come knocking.


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