Twitch might be shadow banning VPN users

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Using a VPN on the popular game streaming site Twitch may prevent others on the service from seeing your chats as the company has allegedly begun shadow banning VPN users.

Beginning in December and January, reports started appearing on social media in which users claimed that others on the service could not see their chats in streams when connected to a VPN.

As is the case with other online services, there are a number of reasons a user may want to use a VPN on Twitch including being able to watch the service's content in countries where it's banned or using certain features on the platform that aren't currently available in all regions.

However, some users could be turning on their VPN when connecting to Twitch to circumvent account bans but the number of legitimate VPN users still far outweighs these outliers.

Shadow banning

According to a new report by WIN, Twitch is now shadow banning VPN users so that their chats no longer show up during a stream regardless of their intentions when using a VPN to connect to its platform. As a result, VPN users still see their chats show up on a stream but the streamer and everyone else in the chat are unable to see them.

In a recent post on Twitter, a user who goes by the handle @notdan explained that the game streaming platform has banned almost all VPN providers from allowing their users to chat on its service. Meanwhile, reports have also started showing up on Reddit confirming that VPN users are now unable to chat on Twitch. 

So far, NordVPN and MullVad are two of the VPN providers whose users can no longer chat on Twitch but many other popular VPN services have reportedly been banned as well. While Twitch users have grown concerned about how they'll be able to protect themselves online, streamers are also worried that they may lose their sponsorships from VPN providers.

There has been no official response from Twitch yet but now that the story has gained traction online, expect the company to say something soon. Until then though, you may just have to turn off your VPN while watching content on its platform if you still want to be able to chat with streamers and other viewers.


Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.