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Twitch begins its clampdown on hate raids after streamer boycotts

After streamers staged a 24-hour boycott on the platform in response to recurring hate raids, Twitch has finally started its legal clampdown on key offenders behind in-app harassment.

For RekitRaven and other key streamers behind the growing #TwitchDoBetter movement, it’s safe to say: congratulations, the platform has definitely responded.

Late last month, we covered a story explaining the anti-progressive trend of ‘hate raids’ on Twitch, whereby bigoted users coordinate to hijack livechat feeds and spread targeted abuse.

Armed with triple figures in bot accounts, malicious profiles typically target streamers belonging to ethnic minority groups, the LGBTQ+ community, or women, and incidents had become worryingly regular in recent months.

For many who’d been victimised, including RekitRaven, and those concerned about Twitch’s lacklustre efforts to address its growing toxic culture, ‘A Day Off Twitch’ provided a chance to take a stand and demand that Twitch become a more inclusive space for creators.

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Credit: Gamesight


Twitch’s response to the boycotts

The 24-hour boycott organised by RekitRaven, LuciaEverblack, and ShineyPen reportedly led to the lowest engagement total on the platform in 2021.

Though some would-be participants were tied down by contractual obligations or sponsors which required them to stream, overall viewership still took a 15% dip from the previous week. Suffice to say, Twitch reacted promptly.

‘Our teams have been working around the clock to update our proactive detection systems, address new behaviours as they emerge, and finalise new proactive, channel-level safety tools that we’ve been developing for months,’ said a spokesperson.

However, Twitch has found that stamping out bots in the modern day is a bit like playing whac-a-mole. The second accounts are taken offline, nefarious coders will sprout hundreds in their place almost instantly.

For this reason, the company is switching up its approach and is now threatening legal action against those found to be partaking in hate raids.

Wasting no time on that front, a few notorious accounts linked to bot generation are already engaged in harassment lawsuits.

Nothing like a taste of federal action to weed out the trolls.


Twitch upping the ante

Choosing not to detail the defendants beyond their Twitch usernames (and for good reason), this particular suit – and there will likely be others – has been levelled at two European defendants.

Identified by several big creators as one of the first hate raiders to escalate the issue, ‘CreatineOverdose’ has previously boasted their actions online. They now face allegations of creating a ‘hate raiding community’ through Discord and Steam.

The suit claims the user showed how bot software ‘could be used to spam Twitch channels with racial slurs, graphic descriptions of violence against minorities, and claims that hate raiders are the KKK.’

Meanwhile, ‘Cruzzcontrol’ is having to answer for around 3,000 bot accounts associated with hate raids in recent weeks and months.

It bodes well for the future of Twitch that its lawyers have previous winnings in legal fisticuffs over bot makers.

Back in 2016, a group of people responsible for inflating views and follower numbers with bots were forced to cough up as much as $1.3 million for a breach of contract and ‘unfair competition.’

In much the same way, it’s looking likely that those conducting or partaking in hate raids have lost their online immunity and will have to face legal consequences.

‘I feel hopeful,’ says RekitRaven. ‘The people behind this need to be held accountable. If this were to happen in a physical location, we’d expect the same. It shouldn’t be any different online.’

Let’s hope this change of approach goes a long way to upending harassment and hate on Twitch. Happy streaming everyone.

 

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