A new, horrifying trend has made its way onto the Twitch scene. It’s an insidious raid, full of bots (and unfortunately people) saying hateful things, following then unfollowing again, and doing whatever they can to disrupt not only the streamers but the viewer’s Twitch experience. These horrible events are known as Twitch hate raids, and they are destroying the platform.
If you’re a streamer, you are probably all too familiar with the numerous bots and accounts that host and promote these raids. It seems as though a fresh crop of them spring up every day, and it’s impossible to keep up with them all (and block them all!), but there are some things you can do to protect yourself.
What is a Twitch Hate Raid?
Raiding is a key component of Twitch. It helps streamers build their communities, gain viewers, and strengthen bonds. It also helps small streamers increase their average viewer count, a key metric for gaining affiliate status on Twitch.
A hate raid subverts all the good of a normal raid. Instead of raiding to support a streamer, a group of horrible people (and the bots they programmed) will raid a stream to spew hateful, toxic, and often dangerous things. These hate raiders will go after people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, women, and anyone who doesn’t align with their worldview. The hateful raiders fill the chat with hate speech and threats against the streamer and their family, friends, and viewers. Not only that, but the raiders will often dox the streamer, digging deep into any online information they can to discover their real name, address, and workplace. They will then menacingly drop this information into the chat for all to see, often along with threats of violence.
But they don’t stop there. Hate raiders will then screenshot the chat and report the streamer to Twitch for allowing hateful messages in their chatrooms. The goal is to get Twitch to ban the innocent streamer!
Why are People Doing This?
I wish I had an answer. Some people are hateful; others think it’s fun to drag people down. Others don’t like to see people they don’t like succeed. The reasons for the hate are endless, but I don’t think we should focus on that.
Instead, we should focus on lifting each other up and helping each other. Visit small streams and build the streamer up. Make your voice heard about how this is impacting the streaming community. Don’t let hate win.
What is Twitch Doing About Hate Raids?
So far, Twitch, who has not responded to requests for comment at the time of publication, is not doing much to prevent hate raids. Targeted streamers claim they have had their accounts suspended, while Twitch does nothing to prevent the raids from happening.
Please help me i was banned after being mass reported by a transphobic boss attack that was telling me to die and you guys banned me and wont reply to my appeal. this is literally facilitating discriminatory violence against trans people. Case number 05241109
— Mine Fujiko (@potsuprincess) August 26, 2021
Twitch’s lack of response has spawned a few Twitter movements, most notable the #dayoffTwitch, which was supposed to be September 1st (but that most Twitch streamers didn’t participate in) and the #twitchdobetter where users are begging the platform to do something, anything to help keep its streamers and viewers safe.
Twitch has commented about the hate raids via Twitter. On August 11, they reported that they identified a vulnerability and are rolling out an update to fix it.
Thank you to everyone who shared these difficult experiences. We were able to identify a vulnerability in our proactive filters, and have rolled out an update to close this gap and better detect hate speech in chat. We’ll keep updating this to address emerging issues.
— Twitch (@Twitch) August 11, 2021
However, the problem was not resolved. On August 20th, they claimed that they couldn’t be forthcoming in what they are doing to prevent these malicious attacks, as the attackers are working hard to find ways around any safeguards that Twitch implements.
We’ve been building channel-level ban evasion detection and account improvements to combat this malicious behavior for months. However, as we work on solutions, bad actors work in parallel to find ways around them—which is why we can’t always share details.
— Twitch (@Twitch) August 20, 2021
Whatever Twitch is doing, it doesn’t seem to be working. New bots are constantly being programmed to join the hate raids, and new streamers are constantly being targeted. It’s a big problem that only seems to be getting bigger.
Big Streamers vs. Small Streamers
Unfortunately, it seems like small and mid-range streamers are the ones targeted most in these hate raids. Big streamers can afford fancy equipment and hire mods to protect themselves, while small streamers tend to lack these resources. And as big streamers make up the majority of Twitch’s revenue, Twitch doesn’t seem to care as much about the little guy.
The big streamers don’t seem to care much about the hate raids, as they aren’t affected. Without them participating in things like #adayoffTwitch and #twitchdobetter, Twitch is unlikely to be affected by these movements.
This tweet thread explains the harsh position that smaller streamers, especially those from marginalized communities, face.
I will not be joining #ADayOffTwitch
It throws every small BIPOC streamer to the flames. The majority aren’t on “streamer twitter” and are unaware while also being the MOST underprepared/defenseless.
In the moments we should be loudest, this call for silence is a misstep.
— detune (@xdetune) August 23, 2021
How Can Streamers Protect Themselves from Twitch Hate Raids?
Since Twitch isn’t doing much to protect its streamers, it’s up to them to protect themselves. Here are the things you can do to prevent a hate raid from destroying your stream.
Flaccid4U, a variety streamer who mostly plays League of Legends, helped round up a list of advice to help fellow streamers protect themselves against hate raids.
Accept Chat from Email Verified Accounts
Like Reddit and Discord, Twitch allows anyone to sign up for an account without any verification. It makes sense from Twitch’s perspective, they want as many people on the platform as possible, so they won’t make it hard for folks to sign up.
However, that means people can create nefarious accounts that aren’t linked to them in any way, and it makes it easy for people who get banned to create new accounts.
Streamers can protect themselves where Twitch fails to do so. By only accepting chat from accounts with verified email addresses, you can limit those who choose not to verify from saying things in your chat.
To do this, go into your Twitch dashboard, then go to your settings. Choose moderation. Near the bottom of the page, under channel privileges, make sure that email verification is on.
Emote-only or sub-only chat feature on standby
A new version of Twitch hate raid has emerged where raiders are targeting channels that are offline. Hate raiders will hop into an offline channel, fill the chat with disgusting rhetoric, and then screenshot it and report it to Twitch. The unsuspecting streamer won’t even know what happened until they get a ban or suspension notice from Twitch, which holds streamers responsible for their chat content whether they are online or not.
To prevent an attack while you are offline, make your chat either emote only or sub only. Emote only is good for non-affiliates, but some nefarious players have been able to spell out horrible things with emotes, so it’s not fail-proof. Sub-only chats are only available to Twitch affiliates, but a hate raider would have to pay to hop in and put anything bad in your chat. They’d have to be really dedicated to doing that, and their account would be linked to their name, so it’s unlikely that someone would risk that.
Link ready to disable follow/raid alerts to stop the alerts
Hate Raiders will do anything they can to disrupt a stream. Sometimes, they follow/unfollow as much as possible to inundate a stream with alerts and notifications, preventing the streamer from talking or reacting.
One way to combat this is to have the link to disable alerts at the ready. This way, you can click it and disable these notifications at the first hint of a hate raid.
Ban known hate raid accounts
So far, thousands of hate raid accounts and bans have been identified. Streamer TheCman97LP identified numerous hate follow bots with the prefix Hoss followed by a string of various numbers. A hacker group known as the Twitch Authorities with numerous accounts under variations of that name have been all over Twitch.
Here’s a video from Twitter on how to ban these accounts and why it’s important to NEVER click on their names or go to their accounts.
⚠️STREAMERS PLEASE SHARE AND RT!⚠️
Below is a video explaining how to block and ban a current malicious hacker group called TheTwitchAuthority. They are exposing IP addresses and locations via their discord.
If you have been followed by any of the accounts in the video pic.twitter.com/GiPSEOSTy2
— Bxnni (@_Bxnni_) July 29, 2021
Here’s a small list of other hate raid accounts that my streamer friends have encountered:
Some of these names might be hard to identify as nefarious bots, but others are pretty simple. Be suspicious of any user whose name is a random string of numbers or begging for things like clicks. Also, pay attention to how many different “users” have similar names. If there are numerous accounts in your chat with similar-sounding names, odds are it’s a bot.
If you use a soundboard or other system, program a PANIC MODE that stops all notifications, sub-only chat, and more.
Streamers who have invested heavily into their streams have more options for dealing with these issues. If you have a soundboard system or stream deck, you can program a panic mode. With the click of a button, you can stop all notifications, change your chat to sub only, and protect yourself from hate raiders.
Enable Twitch’s Automod
Automod on your Twitch Dashboard allows you to ban certain words and phrases before you ever even go live. Be sure to program any slurs that you can think of so that if users try to say these hateful things in your chat, they will be automatically denied.
You should also put things like your full name, address, and any other identifying information on the auto mod ban list so that users can’t dox you in your own chat.
Use Commander Root
Not all bots are bad. TheCman97LP used Commander Root, a known, friendly Twitch bot, to help him ban all the Hoss hate accounts he encountered. This bot can also help you purge your follower list if you get bot followed. You can also use Commander Root to manage your block list, which is helpful against the hate follow bots.
Getting the word out is an important part of keeping the Twitch community safe. If you encounter a new hate raid bot, tell everyone! Post the name on Twitter, tell people in your Discord community, keep your fellow streamers informed.
Twitch is a community, and it’s important for all of us to keep that community safe.
What Can Viewers Do to Prevent Twitch Hate Raids?
Viewers can have an even larger influence on Twitch than small streamers. Viewers are the ones who make Twitch their money and who can serve as witnesses to help small streamers. If you’re a twitch viewer who is sick of your favorite streamers being targeted, here are a few things you can do.
Report Bad Actors
Twitch has a built-in report function that anyone can use. If you see someone spamming harmful comments in a chat, report them. The more reports a certain user gets, the more likely that Twitch will take action.
Take Screenshots and Serve as a Witness
I don’t know for sure that this will help, but it can’t hurt. If you are in a chat that gets spammed with hate, take your own screenshots to prove the innocence of the streamer. If the streamer gets banned, the viewers in that chat can reach out to Twitch with their evidence and fight to change the decision.
Be willing to give statements and offer proof that your streamer doesn’t deserve a ban and help get the accounts that are actually responsible banned.
Boycott Hate Streams
We know that some streamers really are hateful. Stay away from toxic streams. Don’t give streamers who support hate views. Show Twitch that hate has no place on the platform.
Support Small Streamers
One of the reasons why Twitch hasn’t done much is that the hate raids aren’t targeting the big streamers who get the most views. I know that everyone wants to watch Ninja and Auronplay, and that’s great. But why not check out newer, smaller streamers every now and again? If small streamers can make more revenue for twitch as a whole, they will have a more powerful voice.
Stop Giving Twitch Money
The best way to help streamers and send a message to Twitch is to stop giving Twitch money. Instead of cheering with bits, which Twitch gets half of, donate directly to your favorite streamer. Stop subbing to the streamer and start giving them a monthly donation instead.
I know that Twitch does everything it can to make it fun to give Twitch money. Subs get emotes, bits get badges, and the chat goes wild when you use these options. But Twitch also gets half of all the money. You can support your favorite streamer by paying the same amount and putting all of the money directly in their pocket instead of giving half to twitch.
Money really does rule the world, and if enough viewers stop giving Twitch money over their response to hate streams, Twitch will start to pay attention.
Twitch Hate Raids Will Continue to Be a Problem
As long as there is hate in this world, there will be hate raids. Horrible people will do what they can to bring others down. However, we can combat it. We can protect ourselves, support our friends, and appeal to Twitch as a company to do a better job of protecting its streamers (and not banning THEM for the actions of bad actors!).
We may not be able to make hate go away, but we can work to keep Twitch a safe, wholesome community for streamers from all walks of life.
Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.