What The Hell Is Going On With The Twitch Leaks?
This week, the tech world -- well, alien overlord Mark Zuckerberg, to be specific -- faced a devastating blow when Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram were down for more than five hours, leaving millions around the world unable to inform their followers what they ate for lunch, or well, contact pretty much anyone in the several nations around the globe that primarily rely on WhatsApp for communication. Yet in the true spirit of the hubris of technology (or, well, Mercury Retrograde for all my fellow astrology girls) it seems the mysterious tech overlords weren't done with their shenanigans for the week when Facebook's family of apps came back online. On Wednesday, Twitch, a streaming platform famed for really hating boobs, was hit with a massive leak, with nearly 135 gigs of data being anonymously posted to the happiest place on the internet, 4Chan, according to Motherboard
"Jeff Bezos paid $970 million for this, we're giving it away FOR FREE,” read the post, alongside an image depicting the (allegedly) badly-botoxed space cowboy looking perplexed. From what exactly got leaked (spoiler alert: pretty much everything) to how much the platform's top players purportedly make, here are three bizarre details from this week's Twitch leak.
- Twitch's Alleged Source Code, Creator Payouts, and More Were Purportedly Posted
Keeping in theme with this week's string of unprecedented tech malfunctions, the Twitch hack seemingly spanned beyond the scope of a normal run-of-the-mill leak, bypassing credit card information, viewer data, and hell, even those long, green veggies best paired with potatoes in soup form. The hackers in question evidently went above and beyond in staging their “extremely poggers leak," posting, among other things, three years of alleged creator payout details, an up-and-coming Steam competitor the site created with Amazon, and even tossing in Twitch's source code for good measure, The Verge reported, noting that they were able to confirm the legitimacy of the leaked information.
With implications that more sensitive documents were on the way, referring to the drop as “part one", the anonymous poster clarified that releasing the information was for more than merely spiting our favorite billionaire and theoretical Mona Lisa-eater, citing what they say are more negative aspects of Twitch's community as the catalyst for the hack.
“Their community is also a disgusting toxic cesspool,” explained the anonymous poster. “So to foster more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space, we have completely pwned them, and in part one, are releasing the source code from almost 6,000 internal Git repositories."
Regardless of the rationale behind the leaked data, the platform has acknowledged the breach, assuring customers that they'll keep them in the loop as they look into what happened. “We have learned that some data was exposed to the internet due to an error in a Twitch server configuration change that was subsequently accessed by a malicious third party,” the company wrote in a statement, adding that they are “working with urgency to understand the extent of this."
2. The Platform's Top Streamers (Allegedly) Make Bank
Alongside the source code to the entire platform, information more typical in video game leaks, aiding those looking how to Konami-code their way into infinite money-s, the leaks also revealed some eyebrow-arching information. Namely, this included the alleged payouts of several of the site's top creators, data that was compiled in an unverified list and posted on Twitter, Kotaku reported.
First up? Critical Role, an RPG group, reportedly bringing in $9.6 million, followed by Overwatch player, xQcOW, who makes roughly $8.4 million from his more than nine million followers. Talk about an epic gamer moment …
3. Twitch's Top Female Streamers Are Less Successful, Hints At Systemic Issues
Twitch's top female streamers, according to the alleged contents of the list, were not nearly as financially successful as their male counterparts, Kotaku added. Pokemaine, who boasts more than 8 million followers, came in at 39th, allegedly bringing in $38,217, with Amouranth, a cosplayer with over 4 million followers, and Sintica, a musician with 248,000 followers respectively coming in at 48th and 71st places, per the documents.
“At least people can’t over-exaggerate me ‘making millions a month off my viewers’ anymore,” Pokimane joked after the leak.
Yet as Kotaku noted, these numbers have some jarring implications – over the past several years, the platform has found itself in hot water over its alleged treatment of women and other marginalized streamers. Ranging from allegedly banning female streamers for things like body painting and being “sexually suggestive” after playing Monopoly while *gasps!* wearing a tank top to reportedly failing to adequately protect hate attacks targeted at LGBTQAI+ streamers and streamers of color, Twitch has often been called out for their treatment of marginalized creators.
“I’m just tired of it,” one streamer named RekItRaven explained to The Washington Post in August amid the #TwitchDoBetter movement, in which fans boycotted the platform and took to social media to share their experiences. “I’m tired of feeling like I’m not allowed to exist based off of circumstances that are out of my control, and I know other people are too.”
And it's not just streamers – last year a report emerged in which several employees accused the company of racist and sexist behavior dating back to its founding, with one ex-worker even categorizing the operation as a “boys' club.”
“Twitch repeatedly swept accounts of harassment and abuse under the rug: sexual, verbal, physical abuse, and racism,” another former employee told GamesIndustry.biz in October 2020. "And not just my own. It took place in the office. At events. In meetings and behind closed doors. It was rampant and unavoidable. We heard about it in the halls. We saw it at our desks. It was overt and part of the job."
Although according to the employees who spoke with the outlet, it seems Amazon's acquisition of the site back in 2014 heralded a more professional atmosphere, the buyout wasn't a fix-all, as evidenced through the systemic treatment of female streamers – many of whom were dubbed "boob streamers" by some of the company's male workers.
"The women on the platform were held to extreme standards, and it was always blamed on them if they used sexuality as marketing, and it was deeply degrading," one employee recalled.
Top Image: Shutterstock