Starting next week, streaming platform Twitch will add more than 350 new community tags to its platform related to gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, ability, and mental health, the company said in a new blog post. The list of tags will include transgender, Black, disabled, veteran, and Vtuber, Twitch said, and it will remove the “ally “ references from its LGBTQIA tag, in favor of a new standalone ally tag.
The platform thanked its trans community for pushing for a transgender tag, and admitted “the simple truth is we should have done this sooner.” Twitch reportedly had resisted adding a transgender tag over concerns about targeted harassment.
“When we launched tags in 2018, we did so to boost discovery, to help creators describe their content and to help viewers find streams they’re interested in,” the blog post states. “We intentionally designed that system for creators to be able to describe what they were streaming, not who they were or what they stood for. We have maintained this distinction since that time, and we were wrong.”
Twitch had removed the ability to create custom, user-generated communities in 2018, when it introduced tags. But the tag system required choosing from a list of Twitch-provided categories which did not include a transgender category. This made discovery for transgender streamers and other groups not included in Twitch’s categories much more difficult.
Its LGBTQIA tag was generally considered too broad, which Twitch now acknowledges: “It took us too long to embrace that there should have been hundreds of ways for creators to share who they are and issues they care about,” the blog post states. “The Twitch community is incredibly diverse and the tags available to creators should reflect and celebrate that.”
The platform says it worked with independent third-party organizations including GLAAD, The Trevor Project, AbleGamers, and SpecialEffect, as well as other experts “focused on the progress of underrepresented” groups.
Twitch added in its post that users found to be using the tags for harassment will be subject to its Hateful Conduct and Harassment policy, and could face suspension. The company will provide more information about tags and take questions on a live stream May 26th at 9:30AM PT.