China is no stranger to banning, filtering search results and censoring anything its government does not particularly approve of and now it seems like live streaming platform Twitch has fallen victim to the ‘Great Firewall’ as well.
According to a report from Abascus, Twitch experienced a spike in popularity in China, which was quickly followed by reports it was becoming unavailable in various regions of the country. Subsequently, the app disappeared completely from the Apple App Store in China.
People seemed to have tuned in for the e-sports matches at the Asian Games, because the state broadcaster decided not to air them. It was important because China took home two gold medals, so it’s understandable people wanted to take part in it.
Though the platform works significantly slower in China, it was still accessed during that time by millions, which resulted in the spike. Its disappearance caused instant outrage in the country and many voiced out their worries about the country’s crackdown on free speech.
Other say that Twitch got the ban because the Chinese netizens have been… not quite verbally civil with the gamers from other countries during the Asian Games. Trash talk abounded, with a lot of it being directed at the South Korean players.
Twitch is not the first and will most likely not be the last site banned in China – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube cannot be accessed either. Valve though is trying to play by the rules and is working on a Steam version compliant to the country’s laws.