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Twitch commits to disclosing its sponsored streams

The company's new transparency policy labels sponsored content, but it only applies to Twitch's own deals -- individual broadcasters are still free to disclose paid-for content at their discretion.
Now that YouTubers have become a significant vehicle for marketing games, Twitch has made a public pledge to clearly label sponsored content on its platform and refrain from influencing the communication of its broadcasters. This is worth noting because it reflects rising awareness in the industry that disclosure of payment in Twitch streams and YouTube videos is important to maintaining the perceived integrity of those broadcast platforms. In fact, Twitch takes pains to reference the Federal Trade Commission's guidelines for disclosing paid-for endorsements and testimonials in a blog post outlining its new transparency policy. Earlier this year, an FTC representative told Gamasutra that it has grounds to investigate broadcasters who fail to disclose paid-for content in a way that ensures a viewer can't miss seeing it. However, Twitch's new transparency policies only apply to marketing campaigns that the company is involved in; Twitch is not currently requiring all broadcasters on its platform to clearly disclose when they're being paid to create content. Going forward, developers can expect Twitch to brand its sponsored streams and newsletters with a "Sponsored" tag. The company will also be appending similar tags to Twitter updates it makes as part of a sponsored campaign. Twitch CEO Emmett Shear recently opined that he sees the platform as a kind of native advertising unit for games in the wake of the company's $970 million acquisition by Amazon.

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