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Twitch hate raids begin anew

Streamers are still being DMCA'd for clips they delete on Twitch

Twitch hate raids return, leading more users to question Twitch’s ability to actually deal with the issue. For months now, the platform has seen big and small streamers alike having their chats spammed with all kinds of harmful nonsense. Hate raids often targeted both streamer chats and fan communities, flooding Discord servers and Twitch chats with hateful spam. Users already had concerns about the security of the platform after the massive hack a while back, and things have only gotten worse.

The new series of Twitch hate raids comes from a third-party platform with direct links to the far-right. The platform, co-founded by a white nationalist, sees users collaborating to attack LGBTQ+ users on Twitch, spamming them with racist and homophobic remarks, as well as emote combinations with bigoted undertones.

Infamous bigot Nick Fuentes took credit for the recent spate of attacks, laughing about the response to his efforts to spread hate and extremism. Fuentes is a leader of the far-right provocateur group known as “Groypers.” He has been routinely banned from social media for his overt racism and other forms of bigotry. Twitch, Twitter and many others have made a habit of banning these bad actors but have done little to stem the flow of hate.

In response to the new wave of hate raids, Twitch said that it is suspending the accounts of participants in the attacks. And though this is a good step, it’s far from the only thing they can do. Social media has a terrible record of not being consistent in its enforcement of such bans. Anyone who has ever tried to report obvious racism, transphobia or other bigotry on Twitter and YouTube knows that their enforcement is laughably full of loopholes. The same bad actors that get banned often simply remake an account and get right back to their hatred.

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“Our Safety team is actively reviewing reports and suspending users in violation of our TOS. Our legal team is also involved and actively investigating,” Twitch tweeted on March 11. “We’ve taken legal action against those who’ve harassed our community in the past and continue to take these activities seriously.” Will that do much to stop these raids in the future? No, not really. The actual tools to deal with Twitch hate raids are largely left to the steamers to put in place.

The usage of moderation bots and macros has become commonplace. Streamers often have to spend a fair amount of time preparing for raids, then trigger their extreme moderation and filtering policies when they get targeted. Not only is this a lot of work for small channels, it’s a terrible solution. In actuality, it does little to stop future raids, and it harms channel growth. The platforms just don’t seem to care, and opts to push the work onto streamers relying on inadequate tools.

Twitch themselves recommend this approach, by having streamers “dial up AutoMod to L3, turn on Followers-Only and Slow Mode, enable email and phone verification” to combat raids. The biggest problem with this is that it has a major negative effect on engagement, and thus overall organic discoverability. For smaller channels, this can be a death sentence to your growth. These attacks don’t care about the harm they do, and Twitch really should, as it’s going to kill their platform.

Streamer Blizzb3ar was the victim of one of these hate raids while conducting a sponsored stream, and was forced to end prematurely to end the spam. If that practice becomes widespread, advertisers are going to flee your platform, Twitch.

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