Just recently, Twitch banned a significant amount (200+ streamers) based in the Middle East. Some sources say that the main reason for this is related to some tax avoidance problems from the region. This comes soon after Russian (and some Ukrainian) streamers were locked out of being paid out or suspended.
Zach Bussey, a known journalist who is primarily focusing on the streaming end of the gaming industry, mentioned on Twitter the claims about the banned Middle Eastern streamers. Though he also said that the “vast majority” of the bans “will be temporary suspensions”, it is still undetermined how long the current bans will last.
Twitch has yet to comment on their most recent move.
Twitch suspends streamers from the Middle East
One of the streamers who received a ban is Zurt from Saudi Arabia. According to him, he got a 3-day ban because of “fraud” reasons, as well as being connected to issues for “in purchases or payouts.” The terms used are already implying that those could be connected to the tax avoidance issues cited by Bussey as the main reason for the bans.
We’ll keep you posted if more streamers will express if they were part of the barrage of bans Twitch implemented in the Middle East.
Military dispute affecting Russian and Ukrainian streamers
But it’s not just the Twitch streamers from the Middle East who are struggling this time. The ongoing military conflict is really affecting the streamers from Russia and even Ukraine. Twitch, via email, mentioned their move regarding how the dispute can cause some problems at the moment. A part of the email reads as:
“Payouts to the financial institution associated with your Twitch account have been blocked as a result of sanctions. Twitch complies with economic sanctions imposed by the United States and other governments, and is complying with those imposed in response to the situation in Ukraine. These sanctions may limit or impact your access to payouts, ability to monetize your stream, and/or financially support other creators.
We appreciate how frustrating and difficult this is and would like to reassure you that if you can’t provide an alternative financial institution, we will do our best to pay you revenue you have earned as soon as we are permitted to do so.”
This alone should impact Russian Twitch streamers whose livelihood is primarily relying on streaming. There is no way for them to receive the money they are making from the platform at this moment. Though so far, not every Russian streamer received the email, and some Ukrainian streamers have been suspended instead.
Speculations arise that only those whose payment is set to PayPal received the warning, and the location stated on the PayPal account is what determined the outcome.