After the surprise revelation that the world’s most-subscribed streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, had jumped ship and moved from Twitch to rival Mixer, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear has apologised to the streamer and his fans after Blevins’ Twitch channel was used to “recommend content across Twitch”, some of which included pornography.
In a video shared on his Twitter channel, Ninja said he was “disgusted and so sorry” that the content has been shown to his followers, particularly younger fans, and hit out at Twitch for allowing it to happen, particularly as Twitch does not make recommendations on any other channel in this way.
“[Twitch] don’t do this for anyone that’s offline – just me – and there are also other streamers who have signed for other platforms whose stream and channels still remains the same,” he said in the video.
“My team and I have made sure the transition went super smooth, super professional,” he added. “We haven’t said anything bad or negative about Twitch obviously, because there really hadn’t been any reason to.”
At the time of writing, Ninja’s channel has been reverted to its prior status and includes his wall, archives, and (still very active) chat stream.
1/ Our community comes to Twitch looking for live content. To help ensure they find great, live channels we’ve been experimenting with showing recommended content across Twitch, including on streamer’s pages that are offline.
— Emmett Shear (@eshear) August 11, 2019
“Our community comes to Twitch looking for live content. To help ensure they find great, live channels we’ve been experimenting with showing recommended content across Twitch, including on streamer’s pages that are offline,” Shear said on Twitter. “This helps all streamers as it creates new community connections. However, the lewd content that appeared on the @ninja offline channel page grossly violates our terms of service, and we’ve permanently suspended the account in question.
“We have also suspended these recommendations while we investigate how this content came to be promoted. On a more personal note, I […] want to apologize directly to @ninja that this happened. It wasn’t our intent, but it should not have happened. No excuses,” Shear added.
Twitch recently added compulsory two-factor authentication for new streamers after a number of new accounts broadcasted illegal content, including pornography, in May. In a series of tweets, Twitch apologised for the inconvenience but insisted “the safety of our community is our top priority and we’re doing everything we can to restore all access as quickly as possible”.
Ninja earned almost $10 million last year. Blevins attributed 70 per cent of that revenue to Twitch and YouTube, and the other 30 per cent to revenue made via ads, subscriptions, and sponsorships deals with Samsung, Uber Eats and Red Bull.
To generate that income, Blevins streams around 12 hours a day and estimated that he’d played around 4000 hours of Fortnite throughout 2018. Equating his streams to running a “small coffee shop”, Blevins “sees himself as a small business owner”. “They’re gonna find another coffee shop if you’re not there … you have to be there all the time,” he said. He also acknowledged that he and his wife/manager Jess dwell on money lost when subscribers fall away, and said they hadn’t had a holiday since their honeymoon eight years ago… “and even that trip […] was still cut short for professional gaming”.