- The Magazine
Live streaming platform Twitch has two users of engineering bots to flood Black and LGBTQ creators with abuse.
The company filed a lawsuit last week alleging that users CruzzControl and CreatineOverdose specifically targeted Black and LGBTQ streamers by filling their stream chats with “racist, sexist, and homophobic language and content,” Buzzfeed News reports.
Twitch accused the users, whose real names are currently unknown, of evading its attempts to ban them from the platform and said they had “seriously harmed and will continue to harm the Twitch community.”
The so-called “hate raids” allegedly conducted by the users involved engineering bots to target LGBTQ streamers and streamers of color, filling their live chats with abusive messages. As well as racist and anti-LGBTQ language, a number of streamers had their personal information leaked, including names and addresses.
Twitch said in its lawsuit that CruzzControl, who is based in the Netherlands, conducted a number of hate raids “including those targeting black and LGBTQIA+ streamers with racist, homophobic, sexist and other harassing content.”
CreatineOverdose, who is based in Austria, is accused of using 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 KKK.”
Twitch said the attacks “obstruct the chat so significantly, victimized streamers are unable to engage with their community through chat for the duration of the attack, and some even choose to avoid streaming altogether until the attack ends.”
By filing the lawsuit, Twitch said in a statement it hoped to “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.”
Twitch told Buzzfeed News that it has “expended significant resources” to combat hate raids on its platform, but noted that “these actors continue to work hard on creative ways to circumvent our improvements, and show no intention of stopping.”
A Twitch spokesperson told the Washington Post that its lawsuit was “by no means the only action we’ve taken to address targeted attacks, nor will it be the last.”
“Hate and harassment have no place on Twitch, and we know we have a lot more work to do,” they said, “but we hope that these combined actions will help reduce the immediate and unacceptable harm that targeted attacks have been inflicting on our community.”
Creators have been highlighting hate raids for a number of months, including organizing a “strike” to force the company to respond to the problem. The #ADayOffTwitch protest encouraged creators and users to refrain from using the platform on Sept. 1, in order to impact Twitch’s revenue and compel the company to act.
At the time, Twitch responded on Twitter saying it was “working hard to make Twitch a safer place for creators.” Twitch blamed the hate raids on “highly motivated bad actors” and said fixing the problem was not a “simple fix.”
“We’ve been building channel-level ban evasion detection and account improvements to combat this malicious behavior for months,” Twitch said. “However, as we work on solutions, bad actors work in parallel to find ways around them–which is why we can’t always share details.”
They added: “In the meantime, please keep reporting these egregious attacks. It helps us identify and remove bad actors and their networks, and update tools as behaviors evolve. These changes may not be visible, but we are making them daily.”
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