Canadian man faces criminal charges for allegedly spamming Twitch chat

twitch troll arrested amazon purchase
A Canadian Twitch user has been brought up on criminal charges for allegedly sending hundreds of thousands of offensive messages through the platform’s internal chat system. The messages hit more than 1,000 different channels on the platform (best known for letting people live-stream their video game playing) and included more than 150,000 with racist, antisemitic, sexist and homophobic slurs, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

Officially, 20-year-old Brandan Apple has been charged with “mischief in relation to computer data” by the supreme court of British Columbia. He could face up to 10 years in prison as well a civil order barring him from using, creating, or selling certain types of software, including “any robot, bot, crawler, spider, blacklisting software or other software” that could be used to target the streaming platform.

These orders came after Apple allegedly used a service called ChatSurge to help spam Twitch streamers and chat with offensive messages. Gaming site Kotaku notes that the service openly admits that its express purpose is to “flood, destroy or simply demolish any Twitch.tv chatroom.” According to the court, the deluge was so overwhelming that it rendered certain sections of the site inoperable.

“Flooding overwhelms the chat service through the sheer volume of spam messages, ultimately disrupting the broadcaster’s stream and the viewers’ experience,” Twitch said in a court document. “The volume of spam messages on the attacked channel was enormous. The bots were posting an average of 34 spam messages per minute, while on some channels the rate was 600 messages per minute.”

Discerning the source of the attack, though, proved difficult. Employees at Twitch dedicated more than 300 hours to tracing the attacks, ultimately leading the investigation to the ChatSurge platform and Brandan Apple.

Apple has yet to enter an official plea (which still needs to be debated in further hearing), but his next appearance is scheduled for February.

Regardless of the ultimate outcome, this is something of a landmark case. As various streaming and social media platforms grow in size and reach, they’ve often been at the epicenter of all manner of attacks and controversies. It’s easy to forget that while the social internet is a given for many, it’s had relatively little regulation or litigation until now. And cases like these could shape the digital evolution of the coming years.

Computing

Teens are using Google Docs as the modern version of passing notes in class

Google Docs is reportedly being used by teens as a secret communications app. Instead of passing notes, students are now using the software's live chat function or comment boxes to talk with their friends while in the middle of classes.
Podcasts

James Gunn Returns, Avengers: Endgame Trailer, Apple's Time Bandits TV show

On this week's show, we've got a colorful collection of topics, from the Avengers: Endgame trailer to a Time Bandits TV show to a possible Netflix/Spielberg truce regarding their reported Oscars war. Join us live or take our podcast with…
Movies & TV

Disney Plus: Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming streaming service

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney Plus compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on the ways to watch all the March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.
Gaming

Here's what we know about the Dark Souls developer's next game

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest game from Dark Souls and Bloodborne developer From Software. Here is everything we know about the new game, including its setting and combat changes.
Gaming

Upcoming zombiefest Days Gone boasts 30-plus hours of story-driven content

Days Gone, the first PlayStation 4 title from Sony's Bend Studio, looks to offer a different type of zombie game. Here's everything we know about the forthcoming title, from the setting to its gameplay.
Gaming

Is Google launching a game-streaming service? Watch our GDC livestream to see

Google is presenting its 2019 GDC keynote on March 19. Here is how you can tune in to watch the event, as well as what could be shown during the presentation. Google's Project Stream service could be on the agenda.
Gaming

Need to perform a factory reset on your Xbox One console? Here's how to do it

Whether you're upgrading to a One X and giving your old console to a friend, or troubleshooting a technical issue, sometimes your Xbox One needs a clean slate. Here's our quick guide on how to factory reset an Xbox One.
Gaming

New character Octane makes an entrance with the first Apex Legends Battle Pass

Apex Legends' first season kicks off March 19 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The Battle Pass comes in two versions, with the base version costing around 10 bucks. Seasonal rewards include a bevy of new loot such as legendary skins.
Computing

The Unevn One is a portable desk that brings PC gaming on the road

Bringing a gaming PC outside your usual setup can be a challenge, but the Unevn One is the first all-in-one, portable gaming desk complete with a computer chassis and integrated monitor mount.
Gaming

How to get the most out of agent builds and specializations in The Division 2

The Division 2 has an intricate loot system to let you fine tune your agent to fit your play style. In our builds and specializations guide, we'll walk you through all of the stats you should pay attention to when tinkering with gear.
Gaming

Transport your Nintendo Switch in style with these nifty cases

The Nintendo Switch, which boasts both wired and handheld modes, needs a good case to ensure it doesn't get beat up while you're on the go. We scoured through dozens of Switch cases to bring you the best ones.
Gaming

Here's how you can control your PS4 right from your phone

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.
Gaming

Here's our guide on how to progress through The Division 2 endgame

Your mission as an agent doesn't end after taking out the three main factions in The Division 2. The endgame brings the Black Tusks, a dangerous new faction, to D.C. Our endgame guide will help you on your quest for the best loot.