Twitch Hosted Anti-Union Amazon Ads, Infuriating Streamers

Twitch's logo (Image courtesy of Twitch)

Twitch's logo (Image courtesy of Twitch)

An Amazon union-busting ad campaign targeting an attempt at worker unionization in a Bessemer, Alabama aired on Twitch without consent of streamers, which left many concerned about controlling ad that appear on their channels.

“This absolutely sets a tone that [Twitch] wouldn’t support the unionization of streamers,” streamer and activist Natasha “Zombaekillz” Zinda told Kotaku. “Paying people livable wages and assuring them the bare minimum of care to do their jobs effectively shouldn’t even need unions, but here we are.”

“Twitch should absolutely start providing streamers with opt out options for advertisements that are not conducive to the streamers’ branding,” Zinda said. “If they need us to succeed for their success, this should be a priority. Things like not showing adult-themed ads in family friendly streams and not showing ads that could be considered recruiting for streams with kids in them are at the top of this list.”

Another streamer, Glam Shatterskull, responded to the ad campaign saying, “one has to wonder why, if Amazon is such a fair company, they would spend so much money to contest a union representing their workers,” and that “without a doubt” there would be Amazon push-back if streamers attempted to unionize.

“I think most sensible streamers understand that ads are vital to the sustainability of Twitch as it currently stands,” Shatterskull continued. “Being able to opt in or out of certain ad campaigns would be extremely empowering. However, I do not personally think Twitch has marketed itself to a degree where it can offer streamers that much flexibility. It is ultimately discouraging to know an ad with this type of real-world off-Twitch influence is being shown on my channel completely unbeknownst to me.”
Twitch, an Amazon subsidiary,  has since publicly commented on their parent company’s ad campaign saying, “Twitch does not allow political advertising, and these ads should never have been allowed to run on our service. We have removed these ads and are evaluating our review processes to ensure that similar content does not run in the future. We are grateful to our community for bringing this to our attention.”

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