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Twitch Is Suing Two Individuals Believed to Be Behind Those Hate Raids Against Marginalized Creators

The complaint was filed on September 9th

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Lately, whenever I hear about Twitch, I feel a pit in my stomach because I immediately remember the ongoing issue of hate raids toward marginalized creators. The attacks are often geared toward Black streamers whose chats are flooded with racial slurs and claims that certain channels now belong to the KKK. This has led to a lot of Black streamers having to take extra precautions in an attempt to either stop the raids or get rid of the offending text as quickly as possible.

It’s discouraging, to say the least, that so much has to go into streaming video games on Twitch if you’re a marginalized person. Whenever I see talk of Twitch on Twitter it’s been a mix of Black streamers showing distressing chat screens, Black streamers giving each other tips on how to try and defend themselves from racism, or Black streamers giving thanks to mods who work as fast as possible to remove the onslaught of racism.

While Twitch did respond to the hashtag born from the raids (#TwitchDoBetter), the attacks persisted, leading to a protest on September 1st (#ADayOffTwitch). While that did, reportedly, lead to a dip in Twitch’s viewership, many were still waiting to see what Twitch would do after the protest was over.

Well, we have our answer.

On Thursday, September 9th, Twitch sued two of the alleged hate raiders. A Twitch spokesperson told Wired, “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.”

Twitch has instituted several changes aimed at mitigating hate raids. The company says it has banned thousands of accounts over the last month, created new chat filters, and has been building “channel-level ban evasion detection.” But stomping out botters is a bit like playing whack-a-mole; the perpetrators continue to make new accounts while obscuring their online identities to avoid accountability. “The malicious actors involved have been highly motivated in breaking our Terms of Service, creating new waves of fake bot accounts designed to harass Creators even as we continually update our sitewide protections against their rapidly evolving behaviors,” a Twitch spokesperson said in a comment to WIRED.

Examples of those bot accounts can be seen in the tweets below:

According to Wired, the suit was filed with the US District Court for the Northern District of California. In it, two individuals were named (by their usernames, for the time being): Cruzzcontrol and CreatineOverdose. Both of the users operate outside of the US (Cruzz is in the Netherlands while Creatine is in Vienna, Austria), and while Twitch did immediately ban them, the two users found ways to evade the bans. “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.”

Wired continues with the following:

The complaint alleges that Cruzzcontrol and CreatineOverdose still operate multiple accounts on Twitch under aliases, as well as thousands of bot accounts, to conduct hate raids, and that both users claim, in the lawsuit’s words, that they can “generate thousands of bots in minutes for this purpose.” Twitch alleges that Cruzzcontrol is responsible for about 3,000 bots associated with these recent hate raids.

On August 15, the suit alleges, CreatineOverdose demonstrated how their bot software “could be used to spam Twitch channels with racial slurs, graphic descriptions of violence against minorities, and claims that the hate raiders are the ‘K K K.’” The suit also alleges that the defendants may be part of a “hate raiding community,” which coordinates attacks over Discord and Steam.

To be honest, I didn’t expect to see a lawsuit come out of this, but I do feel that it is a step in the right direction. However, the cynical part of me knows that there is always the chance for someone else to come along and do the same thing these two individuals have done.

What happens with this lawsuit is crucial to how marginalized creatives will feel about using Twitch. Not only do these two individuals need to be held accountable for their actions (with more than a permanent ban on Twitch), but Twitch also has to take some kind of preventative measures so this extreme level of widespread hate can’t happen again.

It’s ridiculous that so many Black Twitch streamers had the same negative experience days within each other, so much so that they’d tweet about how it was “their turn” to experience the hate. It came to be an expected part of the Twitch experience if you were a marginalized person, which I wholeheartedly hope lights a fire under Twitch, as stories about discrimination on Twitch have been part of the conversation for a while now – it’s just that these attacks have been a lot more frequent. The truth about being Black in any space is that you tend to go in expecting the worse, but just because you expect it doesn’t mean you want to be proven right about your platform of choice being a cesspool of racism – especially since we’re in the age of platforms making grand statements about promising to do better by the community.

I’m glad something is being done, but I’m hoping that it has a lasting effect so “hate raid” is no longer what Twitch is known for.

(Image: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images)

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Author
Briana Lawrence
Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)