The Twitch Leaks – A Case File

On the 6th of October, 2021, a few hours after Twitch was joking about Facebook being down and having accessibility issues, Twitch had issues of their own after they were hacked and their source code was leaked to the general public.

An anonymous user on the 4chan forums, which is popularly known in the hacking community, leaked Twitch’s source code, including information about their upcoming projects, and what soon became the center of attention, a list of the gross earnings made by the top 10,000 streamers in the last 26 months. All of this data in total came up to 128 GBs worth of content. A list of “do not ban” users was also leaked. But all of it was only the beginning of the story. People on the 4chan forum about said leak were determined to take twitch down.

Twitch source code, creator earnings exposed in 125GB leak | Ars Technica

The list conclusively contained 10,000 of the 9.2 million total (according to Google) Twitch streamers. The leak was later confirmed by Twitch, and a warning was sent to all streamers. 

Most streamers had fun with the list, sharing memes on Twitter and joking on their streams.

Some streamers however were attacked for not being transparent enough about their earnings, to which most responded that they never explicitly said they were poor.

The Top 81 streamers made over a million dollars and as we came close to the top, they were growing close to $10 million. The crazy thing was that this WASN’T even their gross earning, as this list doesn’t even include sponsors, contracts and donations as Twitch wouldn’t have that information. The numbers on the list were shocking, the top .1% streamers made almost half of the total revenue earned by all the streamers.

An important question is, why? Why did 4chan do this? Turns out this wasn’t just fun and games, the hacker referred to Twitch as a “disgusting cesspool”. This hack was a part of a boycott Twitch movement that the hacker was participating in, which was against harassment that users and streamers were facing, especially women and people of colour. The post ended with a #DoBetterTwitch.

Twitch did make changes, by suing some people responsible behind the hate raids and giving users the permission to check their viewers.

But this was simply not enough for our hacker.

I don’t know about you, but I’m eagerly waiting for Twitch to improve its user experience and work towards stopping harassment against its users. Let’s see how the movement continues.

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