Twitch is effectively banning the “topless meta” and other implied nudity streams with another update to its attire policy.

Under the new policy, announced on Wednesday, streamers are no longer permitted to “imply or suggest that they are fully or partially nude,” and may not show a visible outline of their genitals, even if they’re covered. Covering breasts or genitals with objects or censor bars to suggest nudity is also prohibited. Female-presenting streamers may show cleavage, as long as their nipples and underbust are covered, and “it is clear that the streamer is wearing clothing.”

The update is in response to the rise of popular streams known as topless or “black bar” meta, in which streamers appeared naked by using clever framing or black censor bars to cover their breasts and genitals. Although the content didn’t technically violate Twitch’s attire policy forbidding actual nudity, and was properly tagged for “Sexual Themes,” the streams were still controversial in the Twitch community.

“For many users, the thumbnails of this content can be disruptive to their experience on Twitch.” Twitch’s Chief Customer Trust Officer Angela Hession wrote in a blog post about the update. “While content labeled with the Sexual Themes label isn’t displayed on the home page, this content is displayed within the category browse directories, and we recognize that many users frequent these pages to find content on Twitch.”

The company is also working on a feature that would allow streamers to blur thumbnails for content tagged for Sexual Themes, in addition to user settings that would allow viewers to filter content labeled with mature tags that might include sexual themes, tobacco or alcohol use, violence or explicit language.

Twitch has reworked its content policies regarding nudity and sexual themes multiple times in the past month. In a policy overhaul in December, the platform announced that it would allow “fictionalized” nudity featuring nipples, buttocks and genitals, in response to feedback from its art stream community.

While illustrated, animated or sculpted depictions of nudity was permitted, VTubers and physical streamers themselves still had to abide by the platform’s attire policy, which forbade exposed breasts and other nudity. The update also streamlined the platform’s stance on sexual content by establishing an all-encompassing “Sexual Themes” label, so that streams tagged with mature labels wouldn’t be promoted on the platform’s homepage.

The platform rolled back the artistic nudity policy days later — the streaming community was fine with lewd furry art, but the influx of hyperrealistic AI-generated nude images raised red flags. In a follow-up blog post, Twitch CEO Dan Clancy wrote that the company went “too far” with the change, and that Twitch agreed with “community concern” regarding the flood of AI-generated nude content.

“Digital depictions of nudity present a unique challenge — AI can be used to create realistic images, and it can be hard to distinguish between digital art and photography,” Clancy said.

The topless meta went viral late last year when streamer and OnlyFans model Morgpie began appearing naked in streams. Her “topless” streams were framed to show her bare shoulders, upper chest and cleavage. The framing implied nudity, but never actually showed content that explicitly violated Twitch’s sexual content policies. She was banned from Twitch after hosting a topless charity stream that raised funds for Doctors Without Borders.

Other streamers began making similar content, and used black bars, sheets of paper and deliberately placed objects like game controllers to cover themselves. Male streamers also parodied the meta by streaming in the nude, but covering their genitals and nipples. Other creators — particularly male streamers — complained about the popularity of implied nude content. Streamer Gross Gore, who has been previously banned on Twitch for violating its off-platform behavior policy when sexual assault and grooming allegations against him came to light, derided topless meta creators in a recent stream as a danger to children.

Other streamers have been critical of the gendered double standard on Twitch; while all “female-presenting breasts with exposed nipples” are forbidden unless breastfeeding, male streamers are allowed to show their full chests. Twitch affiliate Ren_Nyx pointed out the double standard in an X comment replying to Twitch’s policy update announcement, writing that “it makes no sense that men can be shirtless on stream,” but “if women do it and aren’t even visible it’s somehow a problem.”

Others raised concerns that the new policy would only affect smaller streamers.

“We can only hope that you put your money where your mouth is and actually enforce these new rules toward everyone it applies to — not just small streamers and vtubers,” VTuber MissusMummy replied to Twitch’s X post. “The big named money makers need to know they are not exempt from following the rules.”

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