On September 1st, Streamers took a stand
against Twitch, the popular streaming platform, as they grappled with hate raids.
Twitch Streamer SwiftIke plays Mario64
Hate raids occur when people create accounts en masse, and then use these accounts to spout hateful things at creators, specifically minority and LGBT creators. They do this in a manner that makes it impossible for the creator to effectively moderate their own chat.
While hate is typically not out of the ordinary, the methodology for it is new. Normally, hate on twitch comes from specific individuals, as with most internet hate, and it only takes a ban to remove the person. However, because the accounts are swarms of bots, getting rid of the issue is much harder.
“We have an auto-mod to ban users for saying certain things, but it’s just too slow to keep up”
SwiftIke, a streamer and speedrunner on the platform, said that twitch’s initial reaction left much to be desired.
“Most people are mad Twitch isn’t doing something about the issue, I’m mad Twitch is saying we already have the tools to stop it,” Ike said.
Currently, streamers have two ways to block out hate in their chat; by banning individual people or banning certain words or phrases. However, Ike said that this isn’t anywhere near enough to stop the issue.
“Someone made a bot to ban every variation of a certain six letter word, and it took 97 days for it to finish,” Ike said. “We have an auto-mod to ban users for saying certain things, but it’s just too slow to keep up. It’s as if you had a pistol in a zombie apocalypse.”
Because of these issues, streamers decided to take a stand. On Sep. 1, streamers decided forgo streaming to show that they won’t accept the lack of action from Twitch against the hate raids. Streamers released an image detailing what they wanted from the company in hopes that with the stand, the platform would listen and take action.
In response to this, Twitch released an email stating that they are working on measures to prevent these raids from happening, but can’t disclose anything yet. The email is detailed here:
”First and foremost, no streamer should have to experience malicious and hateful attacks. These are not just violations of our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service, but also attacks on what Twitch communities represent: support, excitement, creativity, positivity.
Many of you have reached out to us to share your experiences, ideas, and frustrations around botting, hate raids, and harassment of marginalized creators. Thank you. Your input will continue to shape the tools we’re building to better protect all creators.
When it comes to safety, our work is always ongoing, never final, which means we are constantly updating our service technology, safety tools, proactive detection filters, and global blocked words list, as well as developing new tools, improved operational support, and policies to curb hateful conduct, harassment, and targeted attacks. Our new tools have been in development for months, and we’re working to launch them as soon as possible.
We know it’s frustrating that we can’t share more details about what we’re working on. The individuals who are targeting marginalized creators are highly motivated. The more information we offer about what we’re doing to stop them, the easier it becomes for them to navigate around those plans. We also know that future tools don’t solve the problems you’re facing today, so below is information about the tools and resources that are currently available. We’ll be hosting a Creator Camp focused on moderation tools on Wednesday, September 15 at 9am PT (4pm GMT). We’ll discuss the tools and tactics below and strategies for using them to combat targeted attacks.
While the original strike did elicit a response, Ike hopes that it doesn’t end here.
“What would hurt Twitch more is to have everyone stream and talk about the hate raids or put the info card up on their screen, because that costs them server money.” Ike said. “I’d love to see a take two, I’m afraid people will call it a day after number one.”
During the day off Twitch, the platform lost about 1 million hours watched, and is between a 5%-15% overall loss for the platform, which is a huge dent in ad revenue and publicity.
UPDATE: Twitch has now recently filed suit against two users on the platform who have been organizing and running these automated hate crimes. Twitch describes the hate raiders as “highly motivated” individuals, and while their real names were not revealed, their twitch usernames are “CruzzControl” and “CreatineOverdose.” According to Twitch, “CruzzControl” is responsible for over 3,000 bot accounts involved in the hate raids.