In the last couple of days, Twitch has shut down two third-party developers’ tools by issuing takedown requests. Those two services are CommanderRoot and Overrustle Logs. As a result of the threat, both services have announced that they will be shut down. In both takedown demands, Twitch Legal cited complaints against the service as a driving factor for their motivation to shut the services down. (Both emails are available below).
“… Fear that we’ll get similar YouTube coverage that lead to their adpocalypse.” – Twitch Staff member
Commander Root offered a ‘Changelog’ data tool that allowed anyone to be able to search the history of an account. If they changed their username, if they became an affiliate (or partner, or staff), or lost any of those designations, you could search it. Overrustle Logs offered chat storing and search functionality, enabling anyone to go through the historic chat data of a streamer. However, it only actively tracked about 800 of the top channels on the platform.
I spoke with a couple of staff members under the condition of anonymity and there was a sense of tightening screws under a new privacy drive. “There’s a new “Head of Privacy” at Twitch, and their focus is on plugging holes,” one told me. Another staff suggested this was part of a bigger plan to ‘clean up’ the platform. “[It was] too easy to find hate, racism, sexism… There are a lot of eyes on us right now [COVID19 Lockdowns], and fear that we’ll get similar YouTube coverage that lead to their adpocalypse.”
Stored Logs have Caused Twitch Drama
The decision to take these tools down is both understandable, yet disappointing. On one hand, the storing of chat logs has caused several bits of drama for streamers over the years. Trainwreckstv is perhaps the most notable, who’s logs in Alinity’s chat have long become the fodder of Twitch memes, and later, direct legal feuds. With Overrustlelogs, the past was never truly forgotten. As for being able to search history, that ability now relies exclusively on what happens within a stream itself. Twitch currently archives chat logs locally, however, they currently do not offer the streamer or their mods the ability to search through them.
Commander Root’s Twitch Tools, on the other hand, have no current similar offering on Twitch. Being able to find new partners, and search for people who may have changed their username was a service that helped people document and avoid bad actors. The ability to spot new partners and affiliates was a great way to highlight new celebrities, brands and content creators who’ve joined the platform. Sadly, this will no longer be possible.
Could there be more services soon to be hit with a request from Twitch? Another staff member thinks so. “Yea, definitely, but they might be given some leeway to change rather than having to shut down immediately.”
As such, we’ll have to wait and see if other third party services make some changes to what they.