The streaming world was left reeling yesterday after Imane ‘Pokimane’ Anys announced that she was leaving Twitch for YouTube after a decade on the platform. Anys, who remains the most-followed female streamer on Twitch, was initially coy about her reasons for leaving Twitch behind. But in a Jan. 31 episode of her podcast, she opens up about why she’s decided to leave the “messy” platform.
“If you see Twitch and streaming nowadays, it’s really almost nothing like how it was back then,” she explained. “Or frankly, I feel like it has regressed a lot. And I think that’s the biggest reason why I have a hard time wanting to devote all of my time and all of my energy to just streaming.”
Taking aim at the company’s confusing nudity policy gaffe last year, Anys added, “I personally am done with Twitch’s messy behavior in the sense that I’m not done with Twitch, but I’m done with, like, being emotionally invested in the changes that this company is doing.”
Beyond concerns about how Twitch is run, Anys also called out Twitch’s controversial banning process.
“Even when something becomes evidently clear that it is wrong, it still takes them a hot ass minute to do anything about it,” she noted. “You have people with incredible viewership getting declined partnership over and over and over and over and over.”
While Twitch can ban account users, they don’t ban IP addresses — this, and the fact that they only recently stopped blocking people from watching streams they’re banned from, means that Twitch has garnered a reputation as a platform that doesn’t go far enough.
There are plenty of other problems with Twitch, like their recent flip-flopping on their payout policies, but the final nail in the coffin for Anys is, she said, the wider cultural change that has taken over Twitch. According to her, the platform has “regressed a lot” in terms of views about women.
“Especially with the rise of so much manosphere, red pill bullshit — I feel like that stuff has flourished within the male-dominated live streaming sphere,” she said. The ‘manosphere’ refers to an alt-right culture that promotes extreme misogynistic and sometimes violent views about women.
While Twitch isn’t the only platform the manosphere lives on, there’s evidence to show that these extremist individuals can thrive on Twitch, with Twitch’s lax content moderation seemingly proving to be a thorn once again. On top of that, it’s estimated over 63% of Twitch users are men, as opposed to 54% for YouTube.
It’s a dangerous time to be a woman on the internet, so it’s easy to see why Pokimane has taken this step — it’s just a question of whether anyone else will follow her.