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Trolls swamp unused Twitch category with pirated shows and porn

The site temporarily blocked new accounts from streaming.
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MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images

Twitch just learned first-hand about the challenges of moderating live video. Trolls have hijacked the site's largely unused category for Valve's Artifact (which previously had few if any streamers) to livestream material that most definitely violated Twitch's terms of service. Motherboard noted that it started out with memes, but on Memorial Day weekend included pirated Game of Thrones episodes, porn and in one case video from the Christchurch mass shooting.

The channel behind the shooting video is no longer accessible, and other streams have mostly reverted to memes.

We've asked Twitch for comment, although it stated on Twitter that it was "working with urgency" to remove the material and the associated accounts, many of which were "automated." It also temporarily suspended streaming options for new accounts to minimize similar stunts.

While those measures should help, it's notable that at least some of those streams persisted despite the likely violations. Twitch and other numerous live video sites have policies and tools to crack down on abuse, but they're not necessarily equipped to deal with large-scale, near simultaneous abuses like this -- they may need more aggressive monitoring to prevent future trolling campaigns.

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