In an abrupt maneuver that angered many Partners and viewers, Twitch removed a significant number of emotes without prior warning. Before partners had received any word as to why their emotes had been removed, a theme arose: most were human or animal posteriors. Once the notifications rolled out, Twitch informed the affected Partners that their emotes were removed for being “sexually suggestive.” The episode spilled onto Reddit and Twitter where the majority opinion found most of the removed emotes harmless or void of sexual content. Other emotes seemingly wiped off the face of Twitch were single letter emotes, allegedly because they could be used to bypass chat filters. With no official announcement clarifying the sudden deletions for over a week, users were frustrated and confounded.
Finally on June 29th, the Twitch Support admin on r/Twitch posted about incident. The post explains “We review over 3000 subscriber emotes a week and have been doing so for over 2 years… In the course of our emote reviews, we are frequently challenged with maintaining consistency… we realized how many emotes should not have been approved, and we set out some time to do a full review and reset some baselines… We recently completed a review of previously approved subscriber emotes and removed 332 out of nearly 52000 total emotes. Why did we not message in advance? Looking back, we likely could have messaged we were going to do so and posted the guidelines in advance. We were focused on the task at hand of getting consensus on the final list of emotes, finishing guidelines, and communicating to affected Partners.”
The emotes that were removed or have had their categories restricted include emotes depicting nude butts or anuses (human and animal), breasts, genitalia, crotch bulges, bikinis, underwear, overt sexual innuendo, defecation, single letters and hate-speech images or symbols. Additionally, some older emotes will be retired to be replaced or removed entirely. ResidentSleeper and WinWaker were reported to be on the chopping block but the former’s continued existence is still in question. The Reddit post goes into more detail and the Partner Emoticon and Badge Guide FAQ page has been updated accordingly.