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China bans Twitch after sudden rise in popularity

Tomas Roggero/Flickr (CC-BY)

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The world’s most populated country has banned Twitch, a spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Dot. And it’s unclear why China is not allowing its citizens to use the popular streaming video service and if the country will allow it to return.

According to Abacus News, Twitch had a huge spike in popularity in China a few weeks ago, but earlier this week, it was discovered that the app had been removed from the App Store in China and that the website wasn’t available inside the country.

Twitch reportedly was the third most downloaded free app in China a few weeks ago, because state TV, CCTV, didn’t air the esports matches at the Asian Games. China had success at the esports event, winning two gold medals, and the only way to watch those matchups live was to stream it through Twitch. Thus, the service quickly rose in popularity in a country with a population of nearly 1.4 billion people.

As Abacus News points outs, the ban has not sat well with Chinese users, one of whom supposedly said that the ban was a blow against free speech. Others, though, said the ban might have had more to do with supposed trash-talking between Chinese citizens and gaming fans from other countries.

According to the Verge, some parts of China continue to have access to Twitch, which means “the censorship wasn’t consistent nor geographically constrained.”

A Twitch spokesperson did not comment on questions about how the ban affects Twitch and if there’s a sense of when or if this ban will be lifted.

Now, Twitch—which has 15 million daily users and which is how most fans watch video gamers ply their trade—joins Facebook, Google, YouTube, John Oliver, and Peppa Pig in being expelled from China.

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz is the Weekend Editor for the Daily Dot and covers the world of YouTube. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. He’s also a longtime sports writer, covering the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.