This is still a rare strategy for large digital platforms in their fight against hate content. Twitch, a streaming site owned by Amazon, is suing two Internet users suspected of carrying out “raids” against several creators on the platform, including publishing mass hate messages.
In a complaint, dated September 9, the company cites two Internet users, identified by the pseudonyms “CruzzControl” and “CreatineOverdose”, and residing respectively, according to Twitch, in the Netherlands and in Austria. These two suspects are accused of having, from August, “Started flooding Twitch streamers with hateful content”, explains the complaint.
“The defendants attack these streamers by flooding their chat with Twitch accounts managed by bots and making racist, sexist and homophobic remarks”, continues the court document, which explains that the victims of these raids were sometimes streamers “Identifying themselves as racial minorities or members of the LGBTQ + community”. In addition to hate speech and content, the two Internet users are also accused of having sent links redirecting to shocking photos and videos.
“Dozens of messages per minute”
When a user does a live broadcast on Twitch, they have tools to moderate the chat, ban viewers who make inappropriate comments or ban certain terms, most often by giving moderation powers to regular viewers who are trusted. . But some users bypass these protections by creating a large number of bot-managed accounts and automatically posting hate messages, generating volumes of messages so large that their moderation becomes impossible. This is what happened here, according to Twitch, which explains that the two defendants managed to “Send up to tens of messages per minute, often exceeding the capacity of the streamer to moderate his chat”. According to the complaint, the user identified under the pseudonym “CruzzControl” has been linked to more than 3,000 accounts managed by bots on Twitch.
The two suspects named in the complaint, the company said, circumvented the site’s actions, and constantly recreated accounts on the platform as previous ones were moderated and removed.
The Twitch platform is regularly accused of not taking enough action against the hateful behavior of certain users, and in particular targeting creators who are victims of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. 1er September, streamers organized a day of strike, called #ADayOffTwitch (“A Day Without Twitch”), choosing not to use the platform for twenty-four hours to denounce the rise in hateful behavior and request additional tools to combat the phenomenon.
In December 2020, Twitch announced a tightening of its moderation policy, notably prohibiting the use of certain terms in the chat, or certain symbols such as the Confederate flag.