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Twitch sues users who filled Artifact category with porn, violence, racism, and misogyny

Unknown streamers used bots to flood deserted category with inappropriate content, including videos of the Christchurch mosque attack

Twitch has filed a suit in the Northern District Court of California against a host of unknown Twitch streamers who filled the platform's "Artifact" sub-category with inappropriate content last month.

The suit names "John and Jane Does 1-100" the defendants, suing the group for copyright infringement (using the Twitch logo on social media to promote the inappropriate streams), breach of contract (breaking the Terms of Service), trespass (using the platform for other than its intended purpose), and fraud (having no intention of obeying the Terms of Service).

Issues appear to have started around May 25, according to the suit, when a number of users began to post streams in the otherwise-empty category for Valve's game Artifact that included various content that violates Twitch's terms of service. Twitch alleges that this included copyrighted TV shows and movies, and more extremely, racist and misogynistic videos, hard-core pornography, and violent videos including one of the 2019 Christchurch mosque attack.

Twitch says it banned users who posted these videos, but new streams appeared so quickly to repost the same videos that Twitch was unable to keep up. This was apparently due to extensive use of bots.

In addition, groups were formed off the platform to coordinate and discuss posting the inappropriate content - those groups frequently used the Twitch logo or variations of it in their social media presence or promotion, and according to Twitch were used to give followers and views to streams with these videos so the content would appear more frequently in Twitch algorithm recommendations.

As a result, Twitch temporarily suspended streaming for all new Twitch accounts for almost two days.

Twitch requests that those responsible be prohibited from using Twitch in the future, using its trademarks, or making bots that interact with Twitch in any way.

"We take these violations extremely seriously," Twitch said in a statement made to PC Gamer. "We are pursuing litigation to identify these bad actors, and will take all appropriate actions to protect our community."

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Rebekah Valentine

Senior Staff Writer

Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.

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