Twitch are suing two users for leading "hate raids"
Using bots to spam chat with harassing messages
Twitch, the livestreaming platform, are suing two users for allegedly organising "hate raids" against streamers. According to the complaint, these users began in August 2021 to "attack these streamers by flooding their chats with bot-powered Twitch accounts that spew racist, sexist, and homophobic language and content" in violation of the Twitch terms of service.
The users are identified in the complaint only by their Twitch handles: CruzzControl and CreatineOverdose, who are believed to reside in the Netherlands and Austria, respectively. The complaint says that Twitch immediately took steps to ban both users and their network of accounts, but that the defendants were "undeterred." CruzzControl is alleged to be "responsible for nearly 3,000 bot accounts associated with hate raids."
The full complaint, which was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, also alleges that the hate raids "were, in some cases, directed to streamers who identified themselves as racial minorities and/or members of the LGBTQ+ community," and that they were organised via "the 'hate raiding community' through other gaming-related social media platforms" such as Discord and Steam.
Twitch are seeking for the users to be legally barred from continuing to use Twitch, but also an award "of restitution and damages." Twitch say that they've expended substantial resources in attempting to investigate and stop the hate raids, including "implementing stricter identity controls with accounts, machine learning algorithms to detect bot accounts that are used to engage in harmful chat and augmenting the banned word list."
"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," a Twitch spokesperson told Polygon.
There has been pressure on Twitch to take action to stop the hate raids in recent weeks, with streamers organising a one-day boycott of the platform under the name #ADayOffTwitch, and the hashtag #TwitchDoBetter. The streamer RekItRaven, who was one of the leaders of those campaigns, told Wired that they felt hopeful. "The people who are behind this need to be held accountable for their actions. They've terrorized hundreds if not thousands of people. If this were to happen in a physical location we'd expect the same. It shouldn't be any different online."