Twitch unleashes a lawsuit against two alleged hate raid organizers

    
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In August we reported on efforts by streamers to call attention to hate raiding and other forms of harassment targeting Black, POC, and LGBT+ broadcasters on Twitch. The effort culminated in a one day boycott of the platform on September 1st, which we took part in; we even wrote some thoughts about the matter, arguing that while the boycott’s efforts were well-intended, it would likely take more than that for any major changes to be made, and we expressed worry that Twitch and its owning company Amazon would simply let the whole matter blow over.

It appears, however, that some active action is now being taken by Twitch in the form of a lawsuit, which sues two alleged hate raid organizers — “Cruzzcontrol” and “CreatineOverdose,” who are believed to live in the Netherlands and Austria, respectively — with targeting specific streamers with racist and homophobic content in violation of the platform’s terms of service. The lawsuit says that Twitch found the users and banned them initially, but they actively avoided the block by “creating new, alternate Twitch accounts, and continually altering their self-described ‘hate raid code’ to avoid detection and suspension by Twitch.”

While the suit doesn’t specify any dollar amount, it does seek “enhanced, liquidated, compensatory, special, and punitive damages” as well as coverage of the court fees by the two alleged raid organizers. Furthermore, it is hoped this suit is a severe enough deterrent against others, according to a Twitch spokesperson.

“We hope this Complaint will shed light on the identity of the individuals behind these attacks and the tools that they exploit, dissuade them from taking similar behaviors to other services, and help put an end to these vile attacks against members of our community.”

Our fellow blogger Connor at MMO Fallout purchased the official filing; you can check it out here.

source: Wired via MMO Fallout
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Mercy Forever

i have lived in both countries and i can honestly say that both countries have fair share of racism rooted in them against minorities and people ,parents and government encourages such kind of behavior .

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Bryan Correll

believed to live in the Netherlands and Austria

It seems to that an effective lawsuit is going to require a bit more information about the defendants than knowing the countries where they probably live.
This looks like a ‘show’ lawsuit meant to give the public the impression that Twitch is taking the situation seriously but that doesn’t have a realistic chance of accomplishing anything.
Actually putting a stop to this would require some major improvements to Twitch’s security against ‘hate raid code.’ And that’s going to be a lot more expensive and complicated than filing suit against individuals unknown.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Still not a lawyer. My extremely limited understanding is that making it an actual court case (and therefore an in-progress legal action) gives them somewhat different leverage in regards to things like information discovery. IE, if Twitch just politely asks their ISP “Can you tell us their names, we’d like to ban them,” the ISP can (and likely WILL) say “No. Go pound sand.” If they hand them a subpoena, that changes the equation. A lot.

So, it could just be a “look Ma, we’re doing something!” move. Or it could be the first step in a required legal tapdance that ends up with a massive multi-billion dollar corporation doing a legal squaredance on their face.

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Bryan Correll

Still not a lawyer.

Still? Well hurry it up then.

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Mercy Forever

rules cant do anything . when you put lawsuits like this is the only way to stop these kind of organizations .
there are rules to stop cheating in video games but does that stop people ? it doesnot .
recently a big cheating company seller was taken down in china and alot of cheating went down with it .

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Bryan Correll

I wasn’t suggesting a rules change. I was saying they need to improve the security of their own software to make it less vulnerable to this crap.

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Adam Russell

It seems to me these hate raids are a form of denial of service. They dont actually knock the site down, but they do make it unusable. This should be prosecuted. Also, when you get blocked and you keep creating new accounts to get back on you are “accessing a computer system without permission” which is a crime too. When they tell you to leave you should leave.

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styopa

I think anyone who engages in a public forum with the expectation that they’re only going to get like-minded and affirmative responses is bound to be disappointed.

And I suspect the level of that disappointment will be directly proportional to the size of the platform.

Ps: only people that agree with me are entitled to reply.

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Adam Russell

If you are rightfully told to leave or blocked from someone’s forum you should leave it and not try to sneak back in with a new account. Thats the difference.

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styopa

Completely agree. If someone says “get out of my forum” you SHOULD leave.

Is the owner of the forum allowed to make that choice arbitrarily? What if they say “get out of my forum, we don’t want people of your skin color*”?
*ethnic group, religion, sexual preference, gender, etc.

WayTooLateTV
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WayTooLateTV

Yes. And they are also fully going to reap the societal repercussions of those decisions, as well they should. They move swiftly to the “Find Out” portion of the equation when they lose their job, get ostracised, have their spouse divorce them, and go bankrupt, as the new “What ever happened to…?” story that came out about white supremacist Richard Spencer recently revealed happened to him after getting punched in the face for BEING a white supremacist, and having that video be disseminated all over everything.

The point being, you can say and do what you want in your own space, but there’s no freedom from consequences. They will come back to kick you square in the solar plexus.

Now, when you say and do what you want on SOMEONE ELSE’S site, like Twitch, which has its own Terms of Service and such, you’re breaking those TOS by being racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, etc. — they’re well in their rights to ban you. If you come back with another account to ban evade? That’s also against TOS. But Twitch is so porous with its account creation tool (see my comment below on another thread), that it’s impossible to stop new accounts from being made to ban evade.

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styopa

Not sure why the sermon? OK we agree – within Twitch channels people can make their own rules. If they want you gone, you should go.
Nothing there has anything to do with the site’s TOS, which you should conform to if you expect them to continue to allow you to participate at all generally.

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Bruno Brito

They should be allowed to do whatever they want with their own forums, it’s their prerrogative.

And reap whatever consequence it comes their way.

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styopa

As long as they allow with nearly-no-vetting anonymized accounts, I don’t see that coming back is disallowed. They ban “AN ACCOUNT” well and good, they’re entitled to. If someone comes back as account2, by their own approach they can’t condemn account2 if account2 doesn’t break their TOS.

It seems illogical to suggest that one can have an anonymized space, but then de-anonymize it selectively for certain individuals.

Leo
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Leo

But what about all those features that people have been recommending twitch institute to help avoid new hate raiders? Like suits against two whole people is a start… but just a start.

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Arktouros

It sounds like most “hate raiders” are dealt with by the standard tools in the system. While new filters get updated/added the bulk of these issues revolve around a few people with bots/automation to help get around most of the measures that are setup. With bots/automation they will always be able to get around most features people recommend to stop things because it simply becomes logic to code around.

Leo
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Leo

Well from what I have seen that is not the case. Every day I see on Twitter a few Twitch streamers talking and showing the hate raids they got. Two I have already seen today.

The streamers themselves are creating tools for clamping down and fighting against the hate raids. So why can’t Twitch just implement those tools? Many of them are not even very complex things. Many other sites offer tools that twitch does not. So the streamers are coming up with solutions and suggestions, and many do work, but twitch does nothing.

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Arktouros

Yes and the system deals with those hate raiders by banning them off the platform. The issue here is that via bots and automation they are able to simply create new accounts that bypass the action that was taken against them.

I can’t comment on the issue with implementing their solutions because I don’t know what their solutions are or how they are implemented in the first place and what challenges a company like Twitch could run into when deploying said solution out to all it’s users. An example would be like lets say one of the solutions is they use a bot. There’s a lot of functionality that goes into making that bot work in the first place that any solution is built on that would also have to be replicated. I’d be very surprised if it was a simple matter or one that could be implemented in a short period of time.

Leo
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Leo

Look I don’t know what else to say. I have been following this for quite some time, seeing all the comments and posts on various media and such, reading what streamers have had to deal with and what people have been doing to address this, so I can only really go with what they all have said.

If these people have created some solutions themselves for this problem, I very much think twitch can as well. They are also owned by amazon and amazon has a variety of products for all things internet as well. This isn’t like a new problem.

So shrug? Guess we will have to agree to disagree.

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Arktouros

Again I’m just curious exactly what solutions people have come up with that are working that Twitch can so easily implement. Just because someone exists doesn’t mean you can simply point to it and expect it to be there overnight. Even then Twitch offers a number of ways and methods to combat these things such as Follower Only mode with a minimum amount of follow time (up to 3 months).

Seems weird to say there’s all these solutions but you’re unable to show an example of one that’s working and keeping people out that would be “so easy” for Twitch to implement but as you say, shrug.

WayTooLateTV
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WayTooLateTV

Buddy, I’m a mod for a streamer that’s been targeted, I’ve got friends that stream front-page and get hate-raided ON THE REGULAR, and I’m queer and disabled with no human mods of my own, so I’ve had to stop streaming until the hate-raids are halted because I’ve been followed by a BUNCH of the precursor accounts to getting hate-raided, even after using commanderroot’s tools to ban the hundreds of thousands of accounts, at a tiny fraction of those accounts per 60 seconds (because that’s how fast the tool is allowed to work thanks to Twitch’s rules for Root’s tools) and have had to leave my computer and browser window running for 4 days to get the lion’s share of them banned. That’s just BANNED. You have to BLOCK them if you want them unable to FOLLOW your account, instead of being able to just chat in it. That’s a separate action, another 4 days. And the list gets another thousand or three every day.

ONE of the things that Twitch can do, right now, that user tools can’t, to stem the tsunami of accounts used for this, is to make it so that you a) can’t register multiple/unlimited accounts with ONE EMAIL ADDRESS, and b) make it so that you can’t click “I’ll do this later” on CAPTCHA HUMAN VERIFICATION, where it just lets you access the account with no limitations and go back to do the CAPTCHA at your leisure. That alone will make it EXPONENTIALLY more difficult for bot ringleaders to bring the circus to town, so to speak.

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Bryan Correll

click “I’ll do this later” on CAPTCHA HUMAN VERIFICATION

That’s a thing? Jeez, Twitch. Why even bother with CAPTCHA?

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Brinto Sfj

The more we let people act anonymously on the internet, the more they are enabled to commit hate crimes. It is time to start thinking of a “universal internet passport” for everyone.

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Bruno Brito

…wat

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PanagiotisLial1

Lets not go from one extreme to another. Extremes are what causing the problems

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Arktouros

Most of these kinds of solutions don’t really work. The people who do this kinda shit will just create fake accounts from information leaked/hacked previously and now you have someone impersonating your Grandma out there throwing out racist bullshit in chat channels when she likely doesn’t even know what Twitch is.

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Brinto Sfj

Authorities will just have to do their jobs properly instead of sleeping on taxpayers’ money. All the problems people mention can be easily rectified if people in charge of the passport do their jobs properly and are held accountable. We can never expect corporations to do the right thing, it is all about money to them. Just look at this situation, Twitch is taking some action now that their revenue is getting hit.

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Bruno Brito

Dude…you do realize cops don’t walk into hacker’s dens and recruit hackers into their fold, right? Two of the biggest issues with law enforcement in the internet is both speed ( law proceedures move slower than computer data, way slower ) and technological delay ( the law didn’t caught up to the cybernetic age yet ).

This is not how it works. I love to shittalk law enforcement as much as the next leftist but in this case, they can’t go beyond their capability even if they want to.

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Arktouros

It’s not a matter of whether or not things can be rectified but rather that you’re creating a much larger mess that has to be rectified and cleaned up than exists now.

Essentially you’re not fixing the problem, you’re just creating a whole other new set of problems and the original problem still won’t be fixed.

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Jack Pipsam

There could be nothing more damaging to minorities and whistleblowers than something as dangerous as a universal internet passport, besides by ‘universal’ which country would host the prime data, which country would design this for the rules which every other sovereign nation has to abide by? What about those without ID, are they now excluded from the internet?
What a disaster.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Not to mention “Universal Internet Passport” still won’t help in countries where the ruling powers are the *problem.* Such as a fair number of countries where being gay is illegal. (And countries where being a woman who can read is *also* essentially illegal. Along with any number of regressive variations, take your pick.) Several of those countries would LOVE to be able to target people worldwide for special attention (ranging from cyber attacks to “whoops, the brakes on your car mysteriously vanished, how tragic!”)

And that’s entirely aside from the thugs who are quite happy to use their real names when they bully and attack minorities, because they think it’s LAWFUL AND RIGHT to do so, and that anyone who tells them they *can’t* kick the crap out of someone for being black (or gay, or a woman) is “part of the problem.” And the USA is NOT in a good place to be putting this kind of thing under goverment control right now – I don’t trust *either* major party as far as I could throw them.

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Brinto Sfj

Whistleblow to the newspaper, you know, like we did in good old days and it worked better than today. Back then whistleblowers had integrity and accountability but with anonymous internet, nobody needs those pesky moral values, just makeup nonsense and poof!

Internet will work just the way it works now, all the nations and govt. will just have to sign a treaty, you know, the way other international laws and stuff works.

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cursedseishi

Don’t be disingenuous. If you think you’re smart enough to know what you are rattling off about? Then you should be smart enough to know literally none of this would work, or is how it works. And if you were actually honest in arguing any of this? You’d drop the tired ‘LulZ inTerNET Anon WEAKSauce’ act. It’s been done, it’s been dis-proven. And that dead horse has been thoroughly beaten. And because you want to be cute? Look up ‘Deep Throat’ if you want to talk about newspapers and all that trash. Mark Felt remained completely anonymous, never disclosed his identity to the press during the events of Watergate, and only revealed himself to be the whistleblower literally decades later just before he died.

Whistleblowers have ALWAYS acted under some form of anonymity. The US literally has provisions governing being fully ‘Anonymous’ when filing reports, and likewise protections below it for those specific situations that do not allow it.

Only dishonest trolls ever argue that being anonymous is a detriment or leads them to ‘make up nonsense’ in regards to whistleblowing. Besides, having your name attached to what you put out there hasn’t stopped anything. Major newscasters and personalities can spout off blatant lies without repercussion on television, entire news networks can devote themselves to racist diatribes and attacking minorities. And disgusting manchildren with too much of daddy’s money and bigoted values can get into positions of power while peddling conspiracy theories so absurd even The History Channel’s Ancient Alien shows would shake their heads at it.

And yes, sure. I’ll tackle that last little thought experiment too. International treaties are always something signed by 100% of all nations 100% of the time after all. It isn’t like there are bad faith actors who consistently refuse to sign such treaties (China, Russia, North Korea), who’d end up serving as safe havens for this bullocks if it ever did somehow come to being.

No sir, it isn’t as though there are multiple international agreements out there where at least one or two major foreign powers have blown off and mocked. Nope! Crazy, I know…

It would never pass mustard. Never be enforced. And never work.

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cursedseishi

And… just to add onto this because I do love fringe cases and oddities of this sort?

https://apnews.com/article/woman-declared-dead-2017-is-alive-2256556e1c682d8ca561cc14b58b0228

This would be a Kafkaesque nightmare if people required a ‘passport’ to use the internet when… say… they were pronounced dead years ago and no longer exist as a person in the eyes of their government. Rare as it may be, that it has been an ongoing issue for multiple years when such a blatantly easy thing to prove isn’t believed bodes ill for how well this would ever work.

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Bryan Correll

Mark Felt remained completely anonymous, never disclosed his identity to the press during the events of Watergate

That’s incorrect. Woodward and Bernstein were always aware of his real identity. He had, in fact, been a source for Woodward on earlier stories and his role as ‘Deepthroat’ began when Woodward first contacted him (not the other way around.)

EmberStar
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EmberStar

A notable correction. But he did manage to remain anonymous to the general public for a long time, right? Including to a fair number of people who had reason to feel pretty vindictive about his role in those events. And he was only finally outed to the general population when he chose to do it himself?

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cursedseishi

Yeah, honest late-night me mistake on my end, should have refreshed and double-checked myself before writing that. He was largely anonymous save for Woodward, who he was leaking information to, and was suspected by several of the white-house staff around Nixon to being the informant. But nothing was proven at the time, and even WH staff said they couldn’t do anything immediate or overt without making everything a whole lot worse.

However it doesn’t change the point. Whistleblowers have every right to be anonymous, as blowback is very much a realistic threat. Even though they couldn’t punish or charge him with any crimes, Felt was ignored and passed over as a result and eventually resigned from the FBI because of increasing pressure and questioning regarding the leaks.

Retaliation isn’t always obvious, nor is it always direct.

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Bryan Correll

Correct. His name often came up when people were trying to discover the identity of ‘deepthroat,’ but it could never be proven.
Interestingly, there are indications from the Nixon tapes that some of the potentially vindictive people, including Nixon himself, believed that Felt was leaking information. Why they never acted on this information is unknown, but publicly outing him wouldn’t have saved Nixon’s presidency. And things could have gotten a lot uglier all around if they’d chosen to have it out in public with him.

Edit: And while I was typing this I see that cursedseishi made a post saying largely the same thing.

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Bruno Brito

What the hell are you talking about? There’s a reason why the Net Neutrality debacle happened and people were up in arms about it.

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Ald

If i’ve learned anything from game studios in the last 20 years, it’s that punishing everyone due to a few bad apples is never the answer. It’s unfortunately the most simple and cost effective solution.

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Immoral

No. All that will do is turn the Internet into how the Chinese government run it over there.

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somber_bliss

Don’t worry, Brinto. This site hates the idea but you aren’t alone in wanting something like this.

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Bruno Brito

If you’re implying we hate the concept of people being held accountable, then you’re being dishonest.

If you’re implying we, the COMMENTERS ( we don’t speak for mop ) hate the idea of a fucking internet passport, which doesn’t solve the issue and creates a plethora of new ones, like any dumb, non-thought-after idea, then yes.

Thank god you guys are on a minority wanting this crap.

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somber_bliss

Glad to see this kind of thing happening. People need to be held accountable for their online actions.

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dkhunter

The fact they haven’t identified either of these people makes this seem like a rather hollow gesture. Maybe the filing allows them to subponea records that could help find them or something like that, but the triumphal coverage it’s been getting feels a little premature.

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Castagere Shaikura

I think a lot of these companies are running scared now. Black streamers have been complaining about this for years and they did nothing. Activision/Blizzard has them all squirming. I still think people of color should start pooling their resources and come up with their own platforms. Judging by their non-action they don’t want us there anyway.

Stefan
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Stefan

I believe that by creating platforms exclusively for them that all you really do is ignoring the problem. It is this us vs them mentality that is at core of the problem, creating a space for us and them is just that.

The solution comes from exposure, so that at the end of the day it does not matter what skin color is or who you feel attracted to, you will learn that we really are far more a like than any media outlet, political party or even certain “studies”

While i am not a fan of extreme political correctness as one extreme feeds another, as this is something we are going through now. So some media can be seen as pandering to or merely forcing it in being it games or movies etc, What it does do successfully is make the kids that are growing up now aware of this diversity, so it becomes normalized for them.

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Bruno Brito

I think the idea is fine, but when it comes to execution, it falls flat. How many people would actually dump twitch to watch said platform?

This has the same issues as DeviantArt and art sites in general have: They’re sites forged by and for artists, but the main income of artists come from non-artists. So, basically even with art sites like Artstation or DA, or Pixiv, you’re still forced to go into social media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to make money because of target audiences.

Stefan
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Stefan

It being called a hate raid i wonder if this does not fall under the hate crime law in those nations, which do exist and are taken rather serious but this is online and those laws might not cover this.

I guess that is why they are taking it upon themselves to go after these people, will it set an example? Maybe but it may also be limited to just those two nations or Europe as a region and even there is a big difference like i do not expect them to get a lot of success with such a case in Hungary or Poland to name two extremes.

Also there are privacy laws in the EU so i am not sure if those names will become public knowledge as they might not released by the courts for the public.

Bit surprised to see the mention of court fees,as court fees are in European courts covered by the one who loses the case, a big difference between the US unless i am mistaken here.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

Not a lawyer. I would guess though that the multi-national nature of the problem is an issue – they’re targeting other users all over the planet, sometimes in areas where local laws to protect against “hate crimes” are weak, contradictory, or barely enforced. (And the USA, where the laws are often all three at the same time.)

I have no idea if these lawsuits are useful, or just a massive waste of time. I suspect that a longer term solution will have to be Twitch making alterations to itself that simply makes it non-viable for all but the most dedicated sociopaths to use the platform as an attack vector. IE, the trolls are gathering under this bridge because it’s a good place for them to be right now. Lawsuits won’t fix that. And I’m honestly not sure Twitch can’t make the space “troll-unfriendly” without making it nearly unusable for everyone else. (Bad example – you don’t solve a “homeless problem” by threading public parks with razor wire and caltrops.)

EmberStar
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EmberStar

“Bit surprised to see the mention of court fees,as court fees are in European courts covered by the one who loses the case, a big difference between the US unless i am mistaken here.”

That might be why it was mentioned? I know that I’ve seen discussions elsewhere about court cases and litigation, and people outside the USA are surprised that we seem to have a system where someone can file endless, baseless, meritless cases with impunity as long as they’re willing to fill out the paperwork, because at the bare minimum it forces the target to spend their own time and money defending against it until / unless the case gets thrown out.