On September 4th, about 8 p.m. PT, a Chinese IRL streamer known as Kyo1984123 climbed to the top of Twitch’s Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches category. Instead of filming himself or another adult in his inflatable pool, he spent roughly 30 minutes of his 9-hour stream broadcasting three preschool-aged children to an audience of 3000+ strangers.
While the streamer’s intentions were probably good, given that he usually just streams his daily life with his kids, the fact that this type of content is being featured on Twitch and in the Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches category raises some serious concerns about Twitch’s approach to protecting children’s privacy on their platform.
Twitch’s terms of service stipulate that nudity, sexual content, sexual violence, or sexual exploitation that involves minors, appears to involve minors, or depictions of minors, or content that encourages or promotes pedophilia are strictly prohibited. They define nudity as: “For all streamers, you must cover the area extending from your hips to the bottom of your pelvis and buttocks. For those who present as women, we ask that you cover your nipples”.
Twitch has neither suspended Kyo’s channel or taken down the original video as of this writing, and it appears that, despite professing to strongly forbid half nude minors in broadcasts, Twitch may allow streamers to broadcast children in swimming suits on its platform.
Because of this, all of this brings into doubt Twitch’s capacity and commitment to safeguarding children’s online privacy.
Kyo’s stream of his children was either within the rules and service, in which case children are permitted to be streamed to thousands of strangers on Twitch; or this was outside Twitch’s terms and service, in which case the corporation chose not to act despite reports.