Twitch sues troll streamers over violent and indecent videos

Twitch is popular among gamers for live-streaming gameplay content to global viewers.

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitch Interactive Inc., the live-streaming platform owned by Amazon.com Inc, sued anonymous trolls who flooded the site last month with pornography, violent content and copyrighted movies and television shows.

Among examples of the objectionable uploads cited in Friday’s complaint is a live stream of the March massacres at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 51 people dead and 49 injured. The video captured by the gunman’s own chest-mounted camera appeared on several social networks, most prominently Facebook, which was criticized for how long it took to scrub the footage.

Twitch says it works to remove offensive posts and ban the accounts of the users who post them, but that the videos quickly reappear, apparently posted by bots, while other bots work to drive users to the impermissible content. Twitch temporarily suspended new creators from streaming after a May 25 attack by trolls.

The company said that if it learns the identities of the anonymous streamers who have abused its terms of service – named in the lawsuit as “John and Jane Does 1-100” – it will ask the court to prohibit them from using the platform and order them to pay restitution and damages.

The case is Twitch Interactive, Inc. v. John and Jane Does 1 through 100, 3:19-cv-03418, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).