Hate raids consist of hundreds of follower bots raiding a stream with abusive, racist, homophobic and transphobic messages. It’s primarily been done to attack streamers of colour, but LGBT+ streamers have also been targeted.
Streamers have been sharing their stories on Twitter, with the hashtag #TwitchDoBetter started by streamer RekItRaven to push Twitch to improve.
Have you tweeted in support of #TwitchDoBetter today?
Keep up the momentum y’all. Just 1 tweet
— ʀᴇᴋ ɪᴛ, ʀᴀᴠᴇɴ! (@RekItRaven) August 11, 2021
In a further stand against hate on the platform, a Change.org petition has now been launched by Lu Morrow demanding Twitch find a solution to prevent hate raids from happening. At the time of writing, it’s had over 4,000 signatures.
As explained on the petition page, Morrow was part of two hate raids during a charity stream by Kandidly Kayla.
Kayla is a Twitch partner who was streaming on the front page for charity, and yet was still hate raided twice by approximately 400 follow bots.
“Speaking as a moderator and a woman of color, I was completely devastated that this happened,” writes Morrow. “Twitch please take action in making the communities of your streamers safer.”
Morrow also suggests a number of improvements Twitch can make, including additional authentication processes for new users, logging IP addresses of offenders, and ensuring banned users are unable to follow again.
Stories of hate raids continue to be shared
Hate raid stories continue to be shared across social media.
Streamer Ky shared her live reaction to being hate raided on Twitter.
This is part of my live reaction to the hate raid. Normally I’d never show myself as this vulnerable but it’s important for people to hear what I said! If you want to watch the entire thing it starts at 1 hr 22 mins in the below link. #TwitchDoBetter https://t.co/OZBEz0xRtD https://t.co/BWEMQYGzWN pic.twitter.com/ePxWBB6xuU
— Ky | She/Her (@DefinedByKy) August 15, 2021
“I understand people saying it’s not about race, but it is,” she says.
“I wasn’t talking about anything political, I wasn’t saying anything about being Black, being proud of being Black. I was just playing a game and it just happened to me.”
The result of all this is that many streamers are now afraid to go live for fear of being hate raided. Streamers want to protect their communities – as well as their own mental health – from abuse, but the response from Twitch has so far not been enough.
Twitch, your creators are AFRAID TO STREAM for fear of being HARASSED and ATTACKED for EXISTING.
You are in control of the security measures you take, the safety precautions you offer us, the moderation tools you provide and the culture allowed on the platform.
— Jambo (@PlayWithJambo) August 16, 2021
lot of well meaning white people are asking about the hate raids and the first thing being asked is ‘do you think they’re hate raiding you based on your identity or the game’ and I’mma go ahead and clear this up for everyone:
— Ms. Vanessa B!, Lv. 35 Permanent Side-eye (@pleasantlytwstd) August 16, 2021
Do not let all of this follow botting and hate raids take away your passion of streaming. Life is sometimes like a simple game. Sometimes running into enemies means you’re going in the right direction. Keep on going.
— Blizzard Bearson the 3rd (@blizzb3ar) August 14, 2021
Streamers are also sharing their tips online to protect themselves. For instance, lanieloveee points out that you can limit who can raid your stream, while Just Jess created a video to describe how to remove follow bots.
With all the hate raids happening lately, remember you can limit raids to only your friends, people on teams with you, or streamers you follow. It’s under the “Stream” section in your settings on your Creator Dashboard. It’s an extra way to help out and protect your space! pic.twitter.com/GnQvHM4yK2
— Lanie (@lanieloveee) August 13, 2021
— just jess (@go_jg) August 9, 2021
To sign the petition, visit Change.org.
When asked for comment, Twitch pointed to a Twitter thread it shared on 11 August.
“We’ve seen a lot of conversation about botting, hate raids, and other forms of harassment targeting marginalised creators. You’re asking us to do better, and we know we need to do more to address these issues. That includes an open and ongoing dialogue about creator safety”,” Twitch tweeted.
Twitch said it has rolled out an update to close a vulnerability in its proactive filters and to better detect hate speech, and will launch more tools including channel-level ban evasion and account verification improvements later this year.