Streaming service Twitch is known for providing livestream feeds of video games and esports competitions. But it also has a dark underbelly in which some users seek out and target minority users with racist and homophobic attacks.
Fortunately, the service has decided this type of behavior cannot stand and has now filed legal complaints against two streamers known for perpetuating a large majority of these virtual hate crimes.
Kalhan Rosenblatt of NBC News has reported that “Twitch is taking legal action to help marginalized users of the platform combat ‘hate raids,’ which is when users or bots infiltrate a chat with harassment, often aimed at Black and LGBTQ streamers.”
According to Rosenblatt, “the streaming site filed a complaint last Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against two of its users for repeatedly flouting its community guidelines against harassment.”
In a statement released to NBC News, a Twitch spokesperson said, “while we have identified and banned thousands of accounts over the past weeks, these actors continue to work hard on creative ways to circumvent our improvements and show no intention of stopping.”
Before Twitch took legal action against hate on its channels, site users organized a protest called “A Day Off Twitch” to encourage the company to find a way to combat the all-too-prevalent hate raids many users have reported encountering.
In court documents, Twitch said that the users it is targeting — known only by their usernames, “Cruzzcontrol” and “Creatineoverdose” — have created new accounts on the site even after being banned and continue to harass minority users on a regular basis with sexist, racist and homophobic language and content.
“These 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,” Twitch said in its complaint. “The attacks have pushed some victims to stop streaming on Twitch until the hate raids end, eliminating an important source of revenue for them.”
While the real-life identities of the individuals behind the attacks currently remain unknown, Twitch hopes the suit it is bringing against them will help make their identities public.
“[This] complaint is by no means the only action we’ve taken to address targeted attacks, nor will it be the last,” the company said. “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.”