Twitch sues two alleged 'hate raid' organizers to expose their identities

mongeese

Posts: 533   +111
Staff member
Recap: Over the past few months, Twitch streamers have weathered an onslaught of what’s been termed “hate raids;” the sudden appearance of endless obscenities in chat, interspersed with personal attacks that may include streamers’ private details.

At the end of August, streamers coalesced under the #TwitchDoBetter hashtag to demand a response from Twitch. #ADayOffTwitch was organized for September 1 to hit Twitch’s bottom line. About 10,000 fewer streamers went online that day, reducing Twitch’s usual peak of 4.5 million concurrent viewers to 3.5 million.

Twitch responded to the community through discussions with news outlets but didn’t formally announce new harassment countermeasures. Then, last week, they filed a legal complaint against two people they allege organize hate raids and disseminate the software needed to conduct them.

But in the complaint, Twitch admits they don’t know the defendants’ real names despite having investigated them, though they appear to be under the impression that a court subpoena could expose their identities. In the complaint, they’re referred to by their Twitch usernames, CruzzControl and CreatineOverdose.

From the complaint: "CruzzControl has admitted to using bots to flood Twitch channels with harassing content. They have also demonstrated how the bots work so others can use similar methods to accomplish hate raids.

"Twitch has also linked CreatineOverdose directly to hate raids. For example, on August 15, 2021, [they] 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 KKK."

The complaint summons the defendants to trial in California, where Twitch is headquartered. But CruzzControl lives in the Netherlands, Twitch believes, and CreatineOverdose lives in Austria.

Twitch’s endgame is a little mysterious. If they do successfully prosecute and fine CruzzControl and CreatineOverdose, it could serve as a warning to other hate raid organizers -- which would be a repeat of a strategy they successfully employed against developers of fake viewership software in 2016.

Or perhaps, Twitch wants to leverage legal repercussions against CruzzControl and CreatineOverdose to force them to expose other members of what CreatineOverdose has described as the "hate raiding community," which mostly resides in clandestine Discord servers, a Washington Post investigation discovered recently.

Either way, an outcome isn’t likely to happen quickly, which is why Twitch has reiterated that legal battles are just one front in the war they’re waging against harassment.

"The Complaint is by no means the only actions we’ve taken to address targeted attacks, nor will it be the last," Twitch told the Washington Post. "Hate and harassment have no place on Twitch, and we know we have a lot more work to do -- but we hope that these combined actions will help reduce the immediate and unacceptable harm that targeted attacks have been inflicting on our community."

Masthead credit Caspar Camille Rubin, body credit Ella Don

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Hexic

Posts: 1,084   +1,633
TechSpot Elite
As a long time internet sh*t poster, what kind of world are we living in when we have to make the internet a "safe space"?

I take my s*itposting quite seriously, it’s essentially a pass-time at this point. Racism and general spamming should be tamped down if the company does desire though.

Unfortunately general society doesn’t understand the internet and it’s freedoms that it enables. But hey, people are malleable, generally unintelligent, and common message boards like FB/IG/Twitter/Twitch enable the masses to access content and allow them to be offended by someone who they don’t even know is real.
 

Achaios

Posts: 237   +685
If you are so foolish as to spam public forums with claims that you "are the KKK" and threaten and intimidate ppl you deserve all that's gonna come at you.

All the more so if you claim to be a Confederate but you are instead from Vlaanders or w/e and/or Gratz, Austria.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,616   +3,226
TechSpot Elite
Well, sounds like they could at least get them for breaking ToS on their site. Maybe prevent them from using it legally (and pay for damages).

But otherwise, I don't know. How are the bot accounts even getting made so quickly? How is there not something monitoring new accounts so Twitch can at least weed out those breaking ToS automatically?

It is a step, but it seems like one that shouldn't have been needed if they were keeping on top of it...
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,075   +3,932
TechSpot Elite
Well, sounds like they could at least get them for breaking ToS on their site. Maybe prevent them from using it legally (and pay for damages).

But otherwise, I don't know. How are the bot accounts even getting made so quickly? How is there not something monitoring new accounts so Twitch can at least weed out those breaking ToS automatically?

It is a step, but it seems like one that shouldn't have been needed if they were keeping on top of it...
They just create new accounts so they don't care if they get banned. Legal action seems to be the only choice here. Others need an example of what happens when you take things too far.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,616   +3,226
TechSpot Elite
They just create new accounts so they don't care if they get banned. Legal action seems to be the only choice here. Others need an example of what happens when you take things too far.
Yeah, humans can get past the ban. But bots shouldn't have such an easy time doing so (which is supposed to be a big component of these "hate raids").
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,075   +3,932
TechSpot Elite
Yeah, humans can get past the ban. But bots shouldn't have such an easy time doing so (which is supposed to be a big component of these "hate raids").
Bot actually have an easier time since they're not manually made. There is a whole industry around making such accounts.