Following a successful streamer strike earlier this month in protest of Twitch's continued failure to adequately tackle the increasingly prevalent phenomenon of hate raiding, the company has filed a lawsuit against two individuals it has identified as persistent offenders.
Twitch's raid feature was originally designed as a positive community tool, enabling streamers to redirect all viewers currently watching their broadcast to a target channel as an "easy way to share audiences". However, malicious users quickly began exploiting the feature, setting up scores of dummy accounts and bots to flood other, often marginalised, streamers in order to dox, harass, and attack them while they work.
While Twitch has previously conceded it needs to "do more to address these issues", the phenomenon has become so widespread in recent times that streamers organised a one-day strike early this month to protest a perceived lack of meaningful action by the company.
Following the strike, Twitch insisted it was "working hard on improved channel-level ban evasion detection and additional account improvements to help make Twitch a safer place for creators", and it now transpires the company has gone a step further, suing two individuals it says have broken its terms of service by persistently targeting marginalised streamers, "flooding their chats with bot-powered Twitch accounts that spew racist, sexist, and homophobic language and content".
In the lawsuit, Twitch insists it took "swift action" against the defendants - known only as CreatineOverdose and CruzzControl, and believed to be from Austria and the Netherlands respectively - by suspending and eventually permanently banning their accounts. However, both continually evaded bans by creating new, alternate Twitch accounts "and continually altering their self-described 'hate raid code' to avoid detection and suspension". If they are not stopped, says Twitch, "they will continued to harass and disrupt" the community.
Twitch is seeking a legally binding injunction to prevent the defendants named in the lawsuit from using its services and from assisting others in engaging in hate raiding - alongside restitution and damages, including inductive relief, compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys' fees, costs, and other equatable or monetary remedies.
In a statement provided to PC Gamer, Twitch said it hoped the complaint would "shed light on the identity of the individuals behind these attacks and the tools that they exploit, dissuade them from taking similar behaviours to other services, and help put an end to these vile attacks against members of our community." Whether it will be successful - and whether these steps will be sufficient to appease an increasingly frustrated community - remains to be seen.