Twitch has taken legal action against some of its own users as the streaming platform tries to address targeted harassment of some users based on race, gender and sexual orientation.
According to Wired, the company filed suit against two users apparently using the platform for “hate raids,” which essentially spams a streamer’s chat with hateful messages that are amplified by bots. These attacks tend to target people of color and women along with other marginalized members of the community with hate speech. A week ago, a number of streamers took September 1 to boycott the platform in support of those who have been the target of hate raids, and it seems that has at least further pushed Twitch to explore all possible options against hate raiders.
On Thursday, after a month trying and failing to combat the tactic, Twitch resorted to the legal system, suing two alleged hate raiders for “targeting black and LGBTQIA+ streamers with racist, homophobic, sexist and other harassing content” in violation of its terms of service.
“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 said in a comment to WIRED.
Twitch has tried a number of measures to curb abuse on the platform, but the case against the two streamers here seems to be a last resort after they evaded a number of attempts to ban them from the platform.
Thursday’s lawsuit, which was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, targets two users, identified only as “Cruzzcontrol” and “CreatineOverdose,” whom Twitch believes are based, respectively, in the Netherlands and Vienna, Austria. Twitch, in the suit, says it initially took “swift action” by suspending and then permanently banning their accounts. However, it reads, “They evaded Twitch’s bans by creating new, alternate Twitch accounts, and continually altering their self-described ‘hate raid code’ to avoid detection and suspension by Twitch.”
It will certainly be interesting to see what the legal system can do here, but it’s good that Twitch is taking real action to help protect users from abuse.