A Twitch streamer got into hot water with Uber and Lyft over the weekend after both companies apparently caught onto his scheme of streaming his rides to an audience.
Streamer JustSmurf maintained a part-time gig as a driver for Uber and Lyft. During his drives around St. Louis, he streamed himself squiring his passengers around the city — sometimes without their knowledge or consent. According to the St Louis Post-Dispatch, his viewers would frequently disparage his passengers, whose names and locations were sometimes revealed.
Lyft and Uber have, understandably, banned Smurf from participating in their services as his actions violate their terms of service. It’s not as though the activities were quiet; Smurf promoted himself on Twitter (his account is now private). His account has also disappeared from Twitch, and a spokesperson from the company confirmed “we do not allow people to share content that invades others’ privacy.”
I question why any viewer would want to watch this kind of content — and I’ve sat through streams of literally nothing (I’m still waiting to get those hours of my life back after that Fallout: 76 reveal stream, Bethesda). I still can’t imagine anything more torturous than watching people make awkward small talk with their Uber driver while a string of strangers make nasty comments.
But whatever, taste is taste. The bigger concern, to my mind, is the blatant invasion of privacy and lack of consent — both of which cast a pall over other streamers trying to make it in the space.
IRL streaming, or streaming while going about daily life, is still a rough art, and streamers are still finding the boundaries of what’s acceptable in society. I’ve seen people streaming in a wide variety of circumstances, from just sitting around at home to elaborate vacation blow-by-blows. When the content doesn’t open unwilling parties to censure, it’s an act of good fun. If it does, then it brings the rest of the crowd down with it.