Introducing Content Classification Labels
Twitch is all about building and being part of communities created around what you’re into. To do that, it’s important that content is clearly labeled so you can make informed choices about what you watch. To make both of these things easier for streamers and viewers, we’re introducing Content Classification Labels. We mentioned this in January as part of our open letter on community safety, and we’ve got more details to share today.
We’ve heard from streamers that it wasn’t always clear when their streams needed to be labeled as mature. Content Classification Labels are more specific content labels that can be applied or removed at any point during a stream. These labels are replacing the existing Mature Content toggle, and should be used any time a stream includes the following:
- Mature-Rated Games
- Sexual Themes
- Drugs, Intoxication, or Excessive Tobacco Use
- Violent and Graphic Depictions
- Significant Profanity or Vulgarity
To be clear, we are not making a change to our Community Guidelines with this update but are instead specifying the content that, while permitted on Twitch, needs to be labeled. Our Content Classification guidelines go into deeper detail for each label, with examples, exceptions, and more. If streamers fail to accurately label their streams, they will receive a warning via email and the correct label will be applied to their stream. Streamers will not receive suspensions for failing to accurately label their streams. That said, it is important that streamers use these accurately, so if a streamer fails to accurately label their content after multiple warnings the relevant labels will be applied to streamers’ channels and may be locked for a period of days or weeks, depending on the number of prior warnings.
In addition to helping streamers connect with viewers who are more likely to be a good fit for their communities, these labels also help protect younger viewers and advertisers. Content labeling has become a common practice across the media and entertainment industry, both from a safety perspective and to provide important information that helps advertisers better target the content their ads appear alongside.
How to label a stream
We’ve incorporated the new content labels into the existing go-live flow within the “Edit Stream Info” modal in Stream Manager. Like tags, these labels can be added or removed throughout a stream so that they only apply to relevant segments. When a stream ends, any labels still applied will automatically carry over to the next stream unless manually removed. They’ll also be automatically applied to any VODs associated with that stream.
Additionally, to minimize work for streamers, when playing Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) mature-rated video games, a “Mature-rated game” label will automatically be applied to the stream. If you switch games to a non M-rated game midstream, the label will automatically be removed.
Content Classification Labels will be available to use starting today. Viewers may report streams they believe warrant a label. If, after a human review of those reports, you are found to have mislabeled your stream, you will receive a warning and the correct label will be applied. To give streamers plenty of time to understand how they will be expected to use the labels, warnings issued until July 20, 2023 will only result in the appropriate label being applied to that stream but will not accrue. After July 20, 2023, warnings will accrue, and repeated warnings will lead to a label lock.
Where to learn more
For more details about Content Classification Labels, including comprehensive FAQ, you can refer to our help article.
As with many of our products and policies, we’ll need your feedback along the way to get it right, so let us know your thoughts in UserVoice.
What happens if I don’t label my content correctly?
Account suspensions will not be issued for incorrectly labeling a stream. If you fail to accurately label your stream, you will receive a warning via email. Multiple warnings will be issued before any other action is taken. Repeated failure to label content correctly may result in Twitch applying a label to your stream on your behalf that will be locked for a period of days or weeks, depending on the number of prior warnings.
If I use curse words occasionally during my stream, do I need to apply the “Significant Profanity or Vulgarity” label?
No, this label only needs to be applied if you are using profanity or vulgar language in a persistent and excessive manner throughout the duration of your stream. Think cussing someone out in a game lobby, versus the occasional use of the “f-word” or a genuine reaction to a moment in a horror game. For additional examples and details on what content does or doesn’t need a label, you can refer to our guidelines.
If I smoke tobacco or drink alcohol occasionally during my stream, do I need to use the “Drugs, Intoxication, or Excessive Tobacco Use” label?
Our focus here is on sustained and prolonged activity.
- For alcohol use, sipping on a drink while streaming wouldn’t require a label, but appearing visibly intoxicated to the point you are slurring your speech, or making being drunk the focus of your stream (e.g. doing a “drunk history”) would require a label.
- Smoking a cigarette or vape while on stream wouldn’t require a label, but intentionally drawing attention to the fact that you’re smoking, or promoting smoking would need a label.
- Use of marijuana in any form, would require a label.
For examples and details on what content does or doesn’t need a label, you can refer to our guidelines.
What do you mean by “Sexual Themes”?
Examples of sexual themes include prolonged or repeated kissing of another individual or object, detailed non-educational discussions of sexual topics or experiences, and content or behavior that is very likely to elicit a mature chat conversation.
To be more direct - many ASMR practices are focused on mindfulness and are not sexual, but we consider kissing or licking a microphone to fall within Sexual Themes. Additionally, many Hot Tub streams are intended to draw attention to body parts such as the buttocks, groin, or breasts, and will need to be labeled.
For more examples and details on what content does or doesn’t need a label, you can refer to our guidelines.
How will I know how long labels will be locked on my channel?
Go to the Content Classification field in your Stream Manager, where if you hover over the label that is currently locked on your channel, you will see a tool-tip detailing how long it will remain before expiring.
Can I change my selected Content Classification Labels partway through a stream?
Yes, similar to tags and streaming categories, you can change your selected Content Classification Labels at any point of a livestream. If a different game is selected partway through a stream, we will also automatically update whether the “Mature-Rated Game” label is selected.
Will the type of content I stream affect my ad revenue?
There is a possibility that the type of content that you stream could affect your ad revenue. Brands align their ads with content that reflects their brand values. The labels will allow advertisers to have more context to inform which types of streams they show their ads alongside, which we expect to increase brands’ confidence in running ads on Twitch, and could bring new advertisers to our service. It is also possible that certain brands won’t want to run their ads alongside streams with specific types of Content Classification Labels applied.
If I apply these labels, will my channel’s discoverability be impacted?
When you apply these labels to your stream, an interstitial will be shown to viewers informing them of the type(s) of content in your stream. Once the viewer provides consent, they can watch as they normally would.
Using these labels will not impact your stream’s visibility in any discovery surfaces. In the future we may use them as inputs to our personalized viewer recommendations.
Can my editors or mods help add or remove Content Classification Labels to my stream?
Editors can change the Content Classification Labels on your stream, but moderators cannot.