In a Twitch blog post now edited to remove the announcement, the platform introduced new customized emote modifiers–which included sombreros, guitars, and rumba shakers–in celebration of Hispanic Heritage month. The exact text from screenshots still floating around reads, “Use a customized sub emote to show support for your favorite Hispanic and LatinX streamer.”
Needless to say, some members of the gaming community thought the images were insensitive cultural stereotypes and cliche depictions of Hispanic and LatinX cultures.
— 🧜🏼♀️ mermaid queen 🧜🏼♀️ (@MerQueenJude) September 15, 2020
However, shortly after people on the internet criticized Twitch’s poorly thought-out emotes, the blog post was scrubbed of the announcement. Twitch then posted on Twitter apologizing for its actions and the images’ insensitivity. The platform has removed the emote modifiers.
We launched these emote modifiers today as part of our celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month but we clearly missed the mark, and we apologize. These were not an appropriate representation of Hispanic and LatinX culture, and we’ve removed them.
— Twitch (@Twitch) September 15, 2020
The platform has landed in hot water before for insensitive actions. Twitch’s Black Lives Matter video featured very few Black streamers and mostly featured white streamers, much to the chagrin of Twitter users, who took issue with the fact that Twitch was advocating for Black Twitch streamers, but not showing or promoting any in the video.
Twitch is also currently testing ads that can run in the middle of streams, a move that has so far been highly unpopular among much of Twitch’s audience. Both viewers and streamers have asked Twitch to not move forward with the feature.
Like everyone else here.
No. If you tested this you had a skewed audience.
If you didn’t test this before this, this is bad.
Either way. Please don’t do this. Most of us have scheduled ad breaks during stream for a reason. Don’t interrupt our stream flow with a random ad.
— Griver84 ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿 (@Griver84) September 14, 2020
Hey Griver, thanks for your comment. For what it’s worth, this *is* the test – we will be monitoring the data from this experiment coupled with your feedback to improve and provide a better experience over time.
— Twitch Support (@TwitchSupport) September 14, 2020
In response to replies from concerned Twitch users, the company made sure to emphasize that the new ads are a test, and not permanently implemented. It remains to be seen how Twitch will pacify its user base and keep mid-roll ads.