Twitch has recently been all over Twitter and in the news for being unable to stop hate raids that target the platform’s streamers, especially those who are Black or LGBTQIA+.
But Twitch has now turned to the legal system to stop two of the alleged perpetrators of the raids. In a report published by WIRED, a Twitch spokesperson said “we hope this Complaint will shed light on the identity of the individuals behind these attacks and the tools that they exploit, dissuade them from taking similar behaviors to other services, and help put an end to these vile attacks against members of our community.”
Over Twitch’s long history in business, harassment has commonly been a topic of discussion on the platform. There have been multiple changes to the terms of service and policies that Twitch has put into play, but recently, targeted raids have taken center stage in the harassment on Twitch.
The raids have escalated over the past few months. Raiders will come into a stream and post derogatory messages to the streamer’s chat in such large numbers and so quickly that it’s difficult for streamers to shut it down fast enough. Many streamers end up stopping their stream to get things under control.
Recently, streamers and viewers of Twitch alike banded together on Twitter to create awareness and hoped to get Twitch to do something about the hate raids with the hashtag #TwitchDoBetter and #ADayOffTwitch, which was a one-day boycott of streaming and viewing streams on Twitch.
Twitch has banned thousands of accounts over the past month and has created new chat filters in hopes of mitigating the damage for streamers. Getting rid of all of the hate raiders is proving difficult for the streaming service, though, since they keep popping up.
“The malicious actors involved have been highly motivated in breaking our Terms of Service, creating new waves of fake bot accounts designed to harass Creators even as we continually update our sitewide protections against their rapidly evolving behaviors,” a Twitch spokesperson told WIRED.
In the lawsuit filed yesterday, Twitch identified two users who go by the names “Cruzzcontrol” and “CreatineOverdose,” whom Twitch believes are based in the Netherlands and Vienna, Austria, respectively.
“Defendants attack these streamers by flooding their chats with bot-powered Twitch accounts that spew racist, sexist, and homophobic language and content,” the lawsuit reads. The lawsuit goes on to explain that Twitch took swift action against them but they evaded the bans by creating new accounts and altering their hate raid code to avoid detection from the platform’s channel-level ban evasion detection.
The lawsuit claims that these two accounts are actively conducting hate raids and that Cuzzcontrol is responsible for about 3,000 bots associated with the hate raids. The suit also alleges that CreatineOverdose “used their bot software to demonstrate how it could be used to spam Twitch channels with racial slurs, graphic descriptions of violence against minorities, and claims that the hate raiders are the ‘K K K.'”
The lawsuit looks to hold these two accounts responsible for their actions and the prayer for relief asks the court to issue Twitch an injunction that disallows the defendants’ use of Twitch, posting content on the site, and assisting anyone in the act of using the hate raids on Twitch. It also asks for monetary damages and attorney’s fees.
This isn’t the first time Twitch has taken bot-makers to court. In 2016, Twitch sued several bot-makers who inflated the number of Twitch followers and viewers, which created frustration for streamers. That lawsuit ended with a victory for Twitch, who was awarded $1.3 million for several infractions.
Because there is now an active lawsuit over the matter, Twitch can subpoena the information from internet providers in hopes of determining the identities of the defendants, with the hope that the lawsuit will further deter other bot-makers from carrying on the practice of hate raids.