Twitch announces removal of friend list feature and streamers are torn

Twitch streamer dmca'd during silent streamTwitch/Unsplash: @djravine

Twitch is removing the Friends feature from its livestreaming experience. Citing a lack of use as the reason behind the removal, though both viewers and streamers alike have been left divided by the announcement.

Twitch, despite heavy opposition, still reigns supreme in the streaming game for the time being.

Showing that the livestreaming service is still trying to work on itself for improvement, or just to shake things up. the Amazon-owned company is now tweaking its features.

In an extended statement released April 29 Twitch declared the Friends list has defined expiry dates for mobile and onsite. Claiming “very few viewers regularly [use] Friends to actively connect with each other.”

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Twitch's full statement justifying the removal of the friends feature.
Twitch updated their ‘how to use the Friends feature’ page with the above to signal the demise of the feature on Twitch.

In Twitch’s statement they clarified that “by deprecating this feature, we are able to further focus on building connections among communities while streamers are live.” Hinting at other methods of user-user communication potentially in the works.

The final day for the Friends list feature will be May 16 on mobile and May 25 onsite. With the removal of the Friends list there will also be restrictions coming into play around the Whisper messaging system on Twitch.

Potentially as a result of hate raids and Twitch being used as a platform for negativity, the announcement shared: “If you block whispers from strangers in your privacy settings, anyone who is currently on your Friends list will lose the ability to send you whispers once the feature is removed.”

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Streamers on Twitch took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the situation, with both the pros and cons being covered by the user base. A chief gripe was the inability to use the Friends list to keep a tab on what streams your friends were watching.

Countering this, some users did agree that the Friends list was vastly underutilized. “I mean, I have friends on that list, all people I know on Twitch, outside of knowing when they’re online and who they watching, pretty useless feature,” one regular used said in response.

The overall consensus seemed to be that people who did use the service were sad about it’s removal, with the strongest argument being that this harms the discoverability of small streamers.

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“It is already bad enough that Twitch does not have a good search/recommendation for small streamers,” one viewer stressed. “The Friends List is the only thing left for that [in] finding new content.”