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Twitch's New 'Ear Lick Meta' Blows Up, Bans Ensue

Amouranth and Indiefoxx have gotten punished, but the category is booming

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Screenshot: ElisabeteTV (Fair Use)

Hot Tub Meta? Please, that’s so early 2021. Nowadays, the hot thing on Twitch are ASMR audio streams that approximate a level of intimacy some might consider a little too sexual. And those who have tested the limits of what auditory content is allowed on the platform have already received the ban hammer in response.

Perpetual Twitch provocateur Amouranth, along with model indiefoxxlive, have been temporarily taken off the livestreaming service following some delightfully bizarre video clips going viral on social media. While Twitch never comments on bans, the timing coincides with the proliferation of a clip in which Amouranth wears a horse mask. Neighing, the controversial Twitch streamer sometimes takes the entire mic into her mouth to make slurping sounds.

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Similarly, if you click on Twitch’s “ASMR” tag at the moment, the most popular streamer is a woman whispering with the occasional wet sound thrown in. The community has taken to calling such shticks “ear lick streams,” as that is basically what these broadcasts sound like.

In a statement to Polygon, indiefoxxlive said that the ban was indeed due to sexual content. Prior to the disciplinary action, the streamer had shown herself doing a variety of yoga poses along with “ear lick” ASMR.

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For onlookers, this might seem like another ploy for attention, particularly now that hot tub streams and their bikini-clad hosts aren’t novel anymore. But Amouranth claims that her hot tub streams were doing fine once advertisements were reinstated. And, she notes, she’s been doing ASMR streams all along—she’s not pivoting to a new type of content. Actually, she’s arguing that the main reason folks are paying attention to ASMR the category on Twitch right now is because of the time she’s put into it.

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The general idea predates Twitch, of course, but it’s certainly true that Amouranth is savvy enough to command attention wherever she goes. Whether or not viewers approve of her methods is beyond the point. Twitch’s Community Guidelines have multiple pages dedicated to sexually suggestive content on the site, but the general gist is that it’s not allowed on the platform.

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“Evaluations on the sexual suggestiveness of a behavior or activity are independent of user attire and are instead based on the overall surrounding framing and context,” the rules read. “This policy also applies to embedded media, augmented reality, creative broadcasts, and channel content—such as banners, profile images, emotes, and panels—that are focused on provocative images or video.”

The code goes on to list potential types of offending content, such as prohibiting anything that simulates sex acts. Theoretically, ear-lick ASMR could violate any number of these guidelines, but as always, Twitch is the judge and jury. The Amazon-owned company previously created a category just for hot tub streams, as some viewers complained that the suggestive broadcasts were taking away attention for other folks in the “Just Chatting” category.

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Auditory ASMR, however, already has its own tag on Twitch, not to be confused with visual ASMR, which also has its own URL. Whether or not Twitch decides to stratify this content further to account for the more adult iterations of it remains to be seen.