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Why Twitch And Kick Both Got Banned

Twitch has already had a rocky start to 2024, complete with a wide swath of layoffs and the departure of Pokimane, one of the streaming platform's top earners. Now, news has spread that both Twitch and rival streaming platform Kick have been banned in Turkey, effective immediately. The news first came to the public's attention last week, when Turkish users on social media began to complain of an inability to view content on Kick, and details of the ban have continued to trickle in since. And believe it or not, Turkey is not the only country losing Twitch.

In a series of posts on X (formerly Twitter), Turkish journalist Ibrahim Haskoloğlu revealed that Kick was no longer accessible within the country due to concerns that the platform was specifically aimed at promoting gambling among younger users. Following a similar mandate by Turkey's General Directorate of the National Lottery, Haskoloğlu reported that Twitch has also been banned in the region. According to Haskoloğlu, these decisions were made following investigations conducted by the BTK, another regulatory body that monitors telecommunications practices within the country. 

Gambling streams, which have also been a cause for major concern among users and parent groups in the United States, were seen as one step too far in Turkey. "Turkish officials I spoke to stated that Kick's entry into Turkey was to attract Turkish youth to roulette," reported Ibrahim Haskoloğlu. Livestream viewers and content creators in the region will have to find a new source of entertainment. Read on to learn more about the international woes facing these streaming platforms.

Users in Turkey have been kicked off of Twitch and Kick

Users of both Kick and Twitch shared their shock and disappointment in the replies to Haskoloğlu's posts, as well as some measure of disbelief. Some expressed disgust at the number of Turkish streamers who are suddenly out of a gig. Others immediately began looking for solutions, including recommending that Turkish content creators make use of a VPN to mask their IP addresses and work around the firewalls blocking Twitch and Kick in the region. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, as Turkey has also banned the use of multiple VPN providers in the country.

Some users reported still having access to Twitch for a brief period of time following Haskoloğlu's reports. However, Haskoloğlu remained resolute in his findings, even explaining that he was previously mocked for attempting to report on these developments at Twitch and Kick. As of this writing, it is unclear if Twitch or Kick will attempt to contest the bans that have just hit their platforms, but it is possible that both may simply cut their losses in this case.

Twitch's last days in South Korea got pretty wild

Twitch hasn't exactly been making a ton of new international friends in the last week, as South Korea has also taken issue with the platform. Though Twitch hasn't been banned in the region, it is closing up shop. The company announced its plans to cease operations in South Korea late last year, noting that the cost of continuing in the region was simply too high. In December 2023, Twitch CEO Dan Clancy explained, "Twitch has been operating in Korea at a significant loss, and unfortunately there is no pathway forward for our business to run more sustainably in that country." Twitch then began the process of withdrawing services from South Korea, only to be fined 435 million Korean won (roughly 327 thousand US dollars) for restricting South Korean users from viewing VODs on Twitch (per Yonhap News Agency). It is possible that further fines from the Korea Telecommunications Commission may follow.

Meanwhile, South Korean streamers have protested the end of Twitch operations in the country through some fairly surprising means. During the final few days of the platform's presence in South Korea, some streamers took to their channels in risqué clothing, while others streamed mature video games or other adult media. After all, as some fans have pointed out on social media, it's not like Twitch can ban these streamers for their behavior or punish them in a meaningful way, at least not at this point. All of this hubbub has only added further stress to a particularly difficult beginning of the year for Twitch. As for Kick, the streaming platform has already announced its intentions to become a new home for displaced South Korean streamers, giving the company a stronger foothold in the country.

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