In Q4 2021, the Twitch community was in an uproar after a data breach exposed an elaborate Twitch Bit money laundering scam operating from out of Turkey for several years.
According to police reports, the scam resulted in nearly $10 million in fraudulent transactions being passed through what was supposed to be a donation system. Given this, you would expect Twitch to handle related cases cautiously; however, that does not seem to be the case.
Recently, Minecraft streamer Verloren reported a fraudulent donation using the Bit system. However, instead of Verloren being praised for reporting the abuse of Twitch's monetization tool, the streamer was punished by having their access to the Bit Program removed.
Moreover, the streamer has been battling to seek an appeal for months, albeit to no avail. So naturally, Twitch's backwards decision has sparked outrage among members of the Twitch community, who condemned the platform's decision to punish the good samaritan in the first place.
Minecraft streamer punished for reporting fraudulent Twitch donation
On 4th February, Verloren explained their debacle with Twitch in a Twitter thread. According to the Minecraft streamer, the Twitch Support team has "absolutely failed" them in a back-and-forth lasting "over two months."
Well I've kept this behind the scenes for over 2 months now and @TwitchSupport has absolutely failed me.— Verloren (@ImVerlo) February 4, 2022
TLDR at last tweet (5/5)
I reported an issue 2 months ago about a suspicious donation from an anonymous cheerer that took place off stream (120,000 bits, yes $1.2K USD). (1/5)
"I reported an issue 2 months ago about a suspicious donation from an anonymous cheered that took place off-stream," Verloren said. Accordingly, the cheer was for 120,000 Bits, amounting to approximately $1,200.
Verloren continued, explaining that roughly 2 hours after receiving the donation, they made a support ticket to request that their Twitch account be frozen "to ensure that [the] donation was legitimate" and to avoid spending money that "would eventually be charged back."
"I had a PayPal incident where I lost a lot of money due to a (sic) immature TTS spammer that disputed all their donations back in 2020. Twitch decided to block and suspend my account with no email or place to appeal until I noticed," they added.
The Minecraft streamer continued to explain that, after sending a lengthy email regarding their frustrations, they received an email an hour later that their account was "back to normal."
The "payments were unfrozen", and the fraudulent bits were "removed" from the payout. "[The] only problem was that whenever I started my stream, I didn't have the gifted sub/bits leaderboard," prompting Verloren to inquire with Twitch about this new issue.
However, when Twitch responded to Verloren's inquiry, they said that the account "was flagged for engaging or supporting conduct, " violating the Twitch Terms of Service.
Followingly, Verloren's account was effectively banned from participating in the Bits Program, meaning that they could no longer receive or participate in revenue share.
Indeed, the situation is absurd, and many users on Twitter and Reddit reciprocate with Verloren's frustration. Some even noted that they, too, have been "f**ked over" by Twitch in the past.
Others condemned Twitch for overlooking the details of the case and effectively punishing Verloren for doing the right thing.
"Yikes, once again, Twitch support system is beyond help. They didn't even bother to read the situation properly," Twitter user Amel wrote."Do the right thing, get banned. Sounds about right for Twitch," said a different user on Reddit.
"Twitch being f*cking stupid once again. Basically just encouraged streamers to not (sic) report fraudulent activity," wrote a third user.
"Considering they knew about the money laundering going on on their platform, yet did nothing about it, I'm not surprised they don't care about any fraudulent activity and wants to remove people who even mention it," said a fourth.
Hopefully, the decision to terminate Verloren's access to Bits was a mistake.
Update: GINX reached out to Verloren to learn of any further correspondence from Twitch Support, and Verloren advised that Twitch restored their access to the Bit Program.
Featured image courtesy of Twitch / Verloren.