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Twitch suing spammers who filled fake Artifact streams with porn and murder

Twitch, the livestreaming site owned by Amazon, are trying to sue the digivandals who in May broadcast videos of pornography, copyrighted movies and TV shows, and actual real-world murders. The offenders pretended to be streaming Artifact, dominating Twitch’s section for the Valve card game. Twitch don’t yet know who they are but have already filed a lawsuit with a California court to get it rolling. When they do know, they’ll look to hit the perpetrators with fines and bans for cyberoffences from trademark infringement to fraud.

The spammers took over Twitch’s Artifact section, which is usually a sleepy corner with little life, in late May. Numerous accounts streamed movies, TV, pornography, and actual murders like the Christchurch mosque shootings. Twitch were not best pleased with this, and nor were many who saw it.

Twitch shut down streams and banned accounts, which kept popping back up. So for two days, from May 28th, they blocked new accounts from streaming to stop banned spammers from jumping right back in with a new name. They lifted this restriction after implementing a new one, requiring all new accounts to enable two-factor authentication before streaming, which still stands.

Part of what made them so tricky to put down, Twitch claim in the lawsuit (posted online by Polygon), is that they “sought to evade these steps using old accounts as well as accounts purchased from other users.”

Twitch claim the spammers had bots to open new accounts and resume streaming once an old account was banned. Twitch also say they used bots to inflate viewer figures of the bad channels so they’d appear higher on the site. This, the lawsuit claims, was part of an coordinated effort between numerous people on Discord and websites, working together and sharing bot code.

They don’t actually know who’s responsible for this, tentatively naming them John and Jane Does 1-100, but they sure do hope to find out who was involved. Yep, you can do this.

Along with “fraud” for knowingly coming back and back to do forbidden things, Twitch’s lawsuit wants their heads for using Twitch’s name and logo when promoting their misbehaviour, and “trespass to chattels” for doing forbidden things that interfered with Twitch operations. In California, where Twitch filed the case, one can trespass electronically by interfering with a computer’s operation.

Twitch’s lawsuit seeks cash money in damages, plus to cover legal fees, as well as to bar any of the people from ever using Twitch, creating any bot or other tool that interacts with Twitch, or helping anyone else do any of that.

Any money from damages likely won’t mean much on the scale of a company owned by Amazon, but displaying they’re not averse to ruining a cybernaut or two’s finances might act as a deterrent for others.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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