Earlier this week Twitch, experienced a massive data leak in the form of a 125GB torrent file that was posted on the anonymous messaging board, 4chan. Aside from the platform’s source code, client lists, and an unreleased Steam competitor, some telling information regarding the highest paid creators was revealed: the majority of them are white males. While this might not exactly be surprising, it’s still troubling — especially when juxtaposed with the issues Twitch has had concerning ongoing hate raids.
Briggsycakes, a Twitch Streamer that spoke to Tirhakah Love of the Daily Beast, summarized their feelings on the payment history coming to light: “Coming after the hate raids and seeing the most well-paid streamers being mostly white and male despite Twitch preaching diversity ... it’s annoying, it’s frustrating.”
Black, brown, queer, and other non-white-male creators are not upset that these people have established massive followings. It’s that the platform still prioritizes this demographic over anyone else while choosing to trudge its feet when it comes to the very real threats streamers of color and other marginalized communities face when streaming.
Who is this helping? — Take the recent Boost feature, which allows Twitch users to buy ads for their favorite streamers. Set to be implemented in the coming weeks, the big concern is that the feature will basically only help those with outsized followings already. Even though the intention might be right, in practice it seems a select group of wealthy creators will reap the benefits of this new implementation.
“Corporations gonna corporate,” Briggsycakes told the Daily Beast. “And most people don’t care about BLM or their creators unless they make money. Not to mention that most businesses are very short-sighted in their plans and this has caused a massive rift that I believe creators are just sick of. At least I am. Especially since the problem can be fixed.”
It took user-driven organization to take a stand against the hate raids that plagued the platform in August. Only after this grassroots mobilization took place did Twitch take any real action itself — filing lawsuits against the two users allegedly behind many hate raids. People who identify outside of the cis-white male confines are growing frustrated with how the company balances its financial interests and the well-being of its most vulnerable users. This data leak only further cements what we already know.