As more and more streamers start to exploit the Vtuber tag for views, the Vtubing community remains frustrated as Twitch has yet to step in.
It’s no secret that Vtubers have seen rapid growth in popularity over the last few months. As such, it’s normal to see other streamers attempt to cash in on this new craze.
Unsurprisingly, Vtubers have also been the target of yet another shady tactic to gain viewers on Twitch. While some of Twitch’s largest streamers have started to abuse the Vtuber tag, the number of offenders hasn’t quite grown to the level of considering it a platform meta.
Antics like this have become metas in the past taking hold of the entire platform. Watching TV or soaking it up in a hot tub were fairly harmless metas, but tag abuse can negatively affect an entire community if Twitch doesn’t put a stop to it.
Vtubers suffer as Twitch stays silent
As seen in the image above, 50% of the top 12 streamers using the Vtuber tag are not actual Vtubers. In fact, the top three tag users are xQc, Hasan, and Miskif; three streamers who do not use virtual avatars on a regular basis.
Of course, these streamers are exploiting the tag for views, and Twitch seemingly isn’t doing anything about it. And as long as Twitch continues to ignore this situation more streamers will hop on this trend.
It is important to note that Twitch’s terms of service explicitly state that mislabeling your stream is “prohibited” but it doesn’t clarify what the punishment is for intentionally using the wrong tags. However, the negative impact it has on the Vtubing community is very clear.
The more streamers that abuse the tag system and mislabel their content, the worse discoverability gets for smaller Vtubers. These massive creators are invading the top spaces under a specific tag and shoving actual Vtubers farther down the line.
Twitch can’t ignore this
Throughout this situation, the Vtuber community has been very outspoken about its distaste for tag abuse. Yet, streamers exploiting the system don’t seem to care, and the outcry even warranted a rather crass response from xQc.
The community has also taken to UserVoice, Twitch’s platform for users to express their concerns in the form of petitions. The top post titled “Intentional misuse of tags ie. Vtuber tag on non-Vtuber” has over 5,600 supporters.
Despite so many users asking Twitch to enforce its own rules, the Vtubing community feels ignored and neglected by Twitch. And their lackluster response to the situation is concerning.
Vtubers together strong. Thank you to everyone who helped this hit 4k votes. It doesn't matter if it seems "unlikely" or "a long shot" that Twitch will reply, taking action is where it starts. This goes beyond Vtubers. This is the integrity of the entire tag system. pic.twitter.com/011813G2DS
— Marina | Fansly Arc | ENVtuber (@MarinaBooUwU) April 20, 2022
Twitch’s lack of urgency is unacceptable
Twitch did eventually break their silence on the matter. However, the platform’s response did little in the way of giving hope that the situation would be resolved soon.
In response to the UserVoice post, a Twitch employee stated, “We share and understand your concerns about how the intentional, repeated misuse of tags can undermine the purpose of the tags product itself.”
Despite starting off strong, the response took a disheartening turn. The admin claims Twitch doesn’t feel it should be the judge of Creators’ personal or creative identity, but it’s painfully obvious that the exploiters are using the tag with malicious intent.
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Twitch ends its disappointing response with “Our goal is to have more to share with you about the tags feature later this year.” With such a vague timeline regarding a serious situation affecting the platform, Twitch’s response has been rightfully deemed unacceptable.
A Vtuber’s concerns for the community
To further understand the issue, Dexerto reached out to Vtuber Marina who is also the creator of the aforementioned UserVoice petition. As someone who is directly affected by the abuse of tags, she was able to give better insight into how harmful it can be.
“The tag system was created to allow cultural groups and communities to be able to find each other and grow,” stated Marina, “Streamers intentionally misusing tags breaks down the integrity of the entire tag system.”
She explained how misusing any tag makes it harder for viewers to find the content they’re looking for. Marina’s viewers have reported that their recommended lists are starting to contain more and more streamers using the Vtuber tag incorrectly. And in the case of Vtubers, many have reported a decline in viewership or difficulty finding new Vtubers to raid at the end of their streams.
Acknowledging that the platform’s largest creators are some of the main offenders, Marina commented, “Other Non-Vtubers follow suit at an alarmingly fast rate to keep up with the trend and/or be what they think is funny. I don’t think the non-Vtubers who are misusing the tag, realize the problems they are contributing to.”
How Twitch should handle tag exploits
A lot of users are upset over the misused tags and have immediately jumped to the conclusion that the offending streamers should be banned. But Marina has shared a different approach that could solve this issue peacefully.
“I don’t believe streamers need to be outright banned, but limiting their access to misuse the tag system seems like an easy and straightforward fix,” she stated. Instead of a ban, streamers could receive a warning. If that is ignored, the streamer would lose access to the tag they’re misusing.
“The proper use of the Vtuber tag is pretty objective. If a streamer isn’t actively using a model or image to represent themselves in place of a camera, they shouldn’t be marked as a Vtuber during that stream,” states Marina.
Regardless of how many Vtubers and viewers take a stand against tag exploitation, nothing is going to change unless Twitch makes a change. Allowing your largest streamers to bend and break the rules sets a dangerous precedent for the rest of the platform.
So, Twitch, you are being urged take the next step. Protect your smaller streamers and stop the abuse of your own systems.