Twitch viewers will soon be able to respond to their favorite creators’ streams with GIFs, expanding the popular looping video medium to yet another social media frontier.
Through a partnership with GIPHY — a digital GIF database and search engine — Twitch will allow viewers to respond to the streamers that they’re watching by posting GIFs through the new GIPHY Extension. The extension will include the majority of GIPHY’s library.
Twitch’s GIPHY Extension will only be available to post to a stream if the broadcaster allows it. The broadcaster will have to designate a space on the screen where viewers can post GIFs — after which viewers will be able to click the GIPHY icon and search in the message bar for the GIF they’d like to see displayed in the stream. GIPHY will then overlay the GIF onto the broadcast.
Users will only be able to post GIFs that are rated “PG,” according to Twitch. Looping videos that include violence, lewd terms, and sexual references are not permitted — nor are GIFs that are “overtly offensive to any race, gender, ethnicity, or community.” It’s unclear who will be making the call as to which GIFs are Twitch-safe and which are forbidden on the platform, especially when that platform hosts game play for numerous violent titles.
Amir Shevat, Twitch’s VP of developer experience, said the new extension is “sure to resonate with the current meme generation.” It joins many other extensions on the streaming platform, which the company began releasing in August 2017 as a way to make streams more interactive and customizable. Other extensions include interactive polls, mini-games, leaderboards, and — thanks to the combination of Bits and Extensions on the platform in April — a Bit Arcade that lets viewers transact Bits to play arcade-inspired games while inside another user’s stream.