Law Street Media

Twitch Sues Users Over ‘Hate Raids’

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Real-time streaming video service Twitch sued two individuals believed to reside in Europe and accused them of flooding the platform with hateful content. The Northern District of California complaint seeks to hold the two, usernames “CruzzControl” and “CreatineOverdose,” accountable for breach of contract, fraud in the inducement, and unfair competition under state law.

According to last week’s filing, Twitch Interactive Inc. was founded in 2011 and acquired by Amazon in 2014. Its service reportedly offers community members the opportunity to watch, play, and chat about shared interests, mainly video games, sports, and creative arts. 

In 2020, Twitch alleges that its platform had 30 million average daily visitors to its channel. The company partly attributes its popularity to the steps it takes to create a safe community for its users.

The complaint explains that the platform forbids various practices and content deemed discriminatory or hateful. Earlier this year, the defendants purportedly conducted “hate raids,” a targeted attack often aimed at streamers from “marginalized groups.” During such an attack, the victims’ chats are reportedly inundated with “bot-powered Twitch accounts that spew racist, sexist, and homophobic language and content.”

After the hate raids began around August, Twitch alleges that it acted swiftly to stop them, expending significant resources investigating and banning the defendants, as well as implementing updated security measures. The defendants reportedly circumvented Twitch’s efforts by “creating new, alternate Twitch accounts, and continually altering their self-described ‘hate raid code’ to avoid detection and suspension by Twitch.”

The lawsuit explains that Twitch community members bear the brunt of these attacks and in turn experience mental health issues, with some cutting back on streaming to avoid the harassment. Twitch now seeks judicial intervention to stop the abuse and end the defendants’ reportedly unlawful, fraudulent, and highly offensive activities.

The plaintiff asks the court to preliminarily and permanently ban the defendants from using or accessing Twitch and award it restitution, damages, and its attorneys’ fees and costs. The streaming service is represented by Perkins Coie LLP.

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