Twitch changes its mind about nude art after just 48 hours: ‘We went too far’

Twitch has taken back a rule change it made just two days ago. After seeing what some streamers did with the freedom to stream “artistic depictions of nudity,” the site said it “went too far.”

The change was one of several adjustments to Twitch’s policies on sexual content and nudity made on Wednesday, and lifted a ban on “drawn, animated, or sculpted” depictions of breasts and genitals. The adjustment was intended to permit Twitch’s community of visual artists to share their depictions of the human figure.

Some of the spicy streams that followed violated even the relaxed rules, says Twitch. (Depictions of “fictionalized sexual acts” were still prohibited, for example.) But some of the imagery that was allowed under the new guidelines was “met with community concern,” the company said in a blog post today. 

Dexerto, for instance, declared that Twitch’s art category had been “overrun by explicit furry and anime content,” although that’s not what Twitch specifically points to as its concern, which it says is to do with photorealistic imagery made by digital artists or generated by AI.

“Upon reflection, we have decided that we went too far with this change,” writes Twitch CEO Dan Clancy. “Digital depictions of nudity present a unique challenge—AI can be used to create realistic images, and it can be hard to distinguish between digital art and photography.

“So, effective today, we are rolling back the artistic nudity changes. Moving forward, depictions of real or fictional nudity won’t be allowed on Twitch, regardless of the medium.”

The only exception remains “incidental nudity” that appears in M-rated games, and Wednesday’s other policy changes, such changes to rules about certain dance styles, aren’t being reversed.

“While I wish we would have predicted this outcome, part of our job is to make adjustments that serve the community,” writes Clancy. “I apologize for the confusion that this update has caused.”

For comparison, Instagram also disallows nude photography but allows “nudity in photos of paintings and sculptures.” I’ll occasionally see a risqué artwork among Instagram’s art sharers, but its algorithm mostly shows me academic drawings and paintings—the kind of things I imagine Twitch had in mind.

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