June 18, 2019
Streaming website Twitch is suing 100 of its own users for repeatedly streaming offensive content.
In a court filing last week, Amazon-owned Twitch alleged that the unnamed streamers had broken their terms of service with the content they were streaming, and had also broken copyright rules.
This lawsuit really seems like the final roll of the dice for Twitch, which had previously tried banning the users; preventing them from creating new accounts and streaming from these; plus introducing two-factor authentication to start a stream.
We explain what the Twitch account-holders did to provoke the ire of the service.
What Were the Twitch Users Streaming?
According to the court filing, the streamers took over the directory for digital collectible card game Artifact, to broadcast a host of unsavoury things, including:
- The March 2019 Christchurch mosque attack
- Hardcore pornography
- Copyrighted movies and television shows
- Racist and misogynistic videos.
However, the content of the streams wasn’t the only problem. The streamers also coordinated their activities through social media sites Twitter and Discord.
They also allegedly used Twitch’s logo in their profiles and servers in a way that broke copyright rules.
Does Twitch Have the Right to Sue?
You bet. Firstly, Twitch is alleging that the streamers’ use of its logo on Twitter pages, Discord servers, and on other websites constitutes Federal Trademark Infringement.
The company argues that because the streamers used its logo to advertise and attract viewers to the prohibited content they were streaming.
What’s more, Twitch believes that its terms of service (that every user has to agree with when signing up) constitutes a “valid, enforceable contract” — putting the streamers in breach of contract.
Twitch Takes a Bold Step, Instagram Takes a Backward One
Twitch has been notably swift and uncompromising about sorting out the issues on its platform — especially when it comes to preventing bots from starting new accounts and spreading the shady content.
Sadly, though, not all social media sites are quite so proactive. In an interview with the BBC, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri claimed that the site didn’t have the tools to prevent bullying on the platform.
“We can’t stop people from saying nasty things,” said Mosseri. “Bullying has existed for a long time, it has changed and evolved with the internet,” he continued. “Like many other issues, bullying is broader than just Instagram and I think that sometimes gets missed.”
According to the BBC, Mosseri claimed that, “if a dangerous post has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, it will be dealt with or removed faster than something that's only been seen by a handful of people.” However, those handful of people might be those most at risk.
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