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Pokimane banned on Twitch after streaming Avatar: The Last Airbender

The ban is likely a temporary result of a DMCA strike 

Pokimane putting up a peace sign on Twitch. Image: Pokimane/Twitch
Ana Diaz (she/her) is a culture writer at Polygon, covering internet culture, fandom, and video games. Her work has previously appeared at NPR, Wired, and The Verge.

Even the biggest among us can fall. On Friday night, Imane “Pokimane” Anys, one of the most popular streamers on Twitch with over 8.5 million followers, was banned from the platform after streaming the popular animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. The cause of the ban is still unknown, but likely the result of a DMCA strike.

According to Twitchtracker, the streamer was watching and casting the Nickelodeon show to roughly 25,000 peak concurrent viewers during the stream. Anys did not directly comment on her other social media platforms on how long the ban would last. However, at the time of publication, Anys’ Twitch channel is inactive. Twitch has a three-strike policy when it comes to DMCA claims, so her channel will likely be restored.

Anys is a face of the Twitch brand at a time where other popular streamers like Ludwig Ahgren have left for YouTube. In 2020, the streamer signed a multi-year deal to stay on Twitch. After the ban, Anys joked on Twitter that the “fire nation attacked,” which is a reference to a popular meme from the show she likely got banned for streaming.

Streamers broadcasting and commenting on television is a newer trend on Twitch. Known as “TV meta,” it’s become a popular way to capture the attention of viewers. In December, popular variety streamers like Félix “xQc” Lengyel and Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker streamed viewings of the competitive cooking show MasterChef on their channels.

Still, the strategy is risky, as Twitch has a history of removing content after receiving takedown requests from companies. In 2020, the streaming platform encouraged streamers to remove content to comply with copyright laws for music. Twitch responds to notifications from copyright holders who have filed DMCA requests. In this case, ViacomCBS owns Avatar: The Last Airbender so its legal team would issue the request.

A likely DMCA strike against such a popular streamer could have huge implications for Twitch’s larger TV meta trend. While Anys’ channel will likely be reinstated, it remains to be seen if other big variety streamers will continue to react to shows with the threat of a takedown looming over them.

Update (Jan. 10): Pokimane’s Twitch channel is back online. Over the weekend, Anys tweeted that her penalty was just a 48-hour suspension, which brought her channel back on Sunday. The streamer said she will return to streaming on Monday to talk about the incident. She also tweeted that she didn’t think the punishment was unfair and that it was inevitable that publishers would take action against one of the reaction streamers, eventually.

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