Sun. Oct 2nd, 2022
A recording shows the flood of "Ayaya" anime meme streams that took over Twitch's Artifact stream page in May.
enlarge A recording shows the flow of “Ayaya” anime meme streams that took over Twitch’s Artifact stream page in May.

In a federal lawsuit filed last week, Twitch is accusing 100 unnamed defendants of violating its terms of service by flooding the site’s directory with Artifact game streams with inappropriate content, including “a video of the March 2019 Christchurch Mosque attack, hardcore pornography, copyrighted movies and television shows, and racist and misogynistic videos.”

Inappropriate or irrelevant streams are of course nothing new on Twitch. The company’s Trust and Safety team uses various moderation tools to remove streams that violate the site’s terms of service and ban the users behind it. But the company is taking the extra step of a lawsuit in this case because, according to the complaint, “defendants’ actions threatened and continue to threaten Twitch and the security of the Twitch community.”

“Twitch removed the posts and banned the offending accounts, but the offending video streams quickly reappeared with new accounts,” the complaint continues. “It appears that defendants are using automated methods to create accounts and distribute objectionable material and to thwart Twitch’s security mechanisms.”

The attack had a direct effect on Twitch’s business and user base, the complaint alleges, as many viewers were “understandably upset and by information and belief that some users were stopping or reducing their use of the Twitch services.” Additionally, “To protect the Twitch community, Twitch took the extremely disruptive step of disabling streaming for all newly created accounts for nearly two days before imposing two-factor authentication on certain accounts.”

According to the lawsuit, a group of users coordinated the posting of these illegal streams through Google, Discord, Weebly and a custom site on ArtifactStreams.com. An archived version of that site includes a list of “active troll Twitch streams” and links to chat rooms to discuss the effort with others.

Using the Twitch logo on ArtifactStreams.com amounts to trademark infringement, the complaint says, while posting the streams themselves amounts to breach of contract, property infringement and fraud. Twitch is demanding monetary support and a permanent court order prohibiting the defendants from posting to Twitch in the future.

“We take these violations extremely seriously,” Twitch said in a statement to PC Gamer. “We are pursuing a lawsuit to identify these bad actors and will take all appropriate steps to protect our community.”

Twitch’s targeting Artifact directory, which Twitch says started on May 25, comes as Valve’s heavily hyped card game seems to be circling the drain to irrelevance in the highly competitive online card game space. At the time of writing, the game has just four live streams and 30 live viewers on Twitch, compared to hundreds of streams and 17,000 viewers for hearthstone† Tracking by Steam Charts shows a maximum of only 153 concurrent players in the last 24 hours.

By akfire1

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