On January 31, a Russian court determined that Twitch must pay a $57,000 punishment for propagating what prosecutors dub “Fake Information.” Twitch was ordered to erase material relating to Russia’s continuing invasion of Ukraine.
Twitch, which debuted in June 2011, was primarily intended to be and is best recognised as a platform for video game live streaming. Twitch, on the other hand, provides a variety of material, including some live streamers who opt to cover news and politics in addition to other topics. This includes content makers documenting Ukraine’s continuing conflict, which has cost the lives of tens of thousands of people since the invasion started in February 2022.
A court in Moscow’s Tagansky District found Twitch guilty of failing to delete banned information from its platform, according to the Russian news agency Interfax. The court fined twitch 4 million Rubles (about $57,000) for failing to delete what it says is “incorrect” material on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which the Russian authorities call a “special military operation.” According to reports, the infringing material included what the Russian government alleges is false information regarding civilian losses, widespread mobilisation, and the “form and techniques” of Russia’s military actions.
Twitch’s failure to delete footage involving lawyer Mark Feigin and former Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Oleksii Arestovych was also highlighted in the verdict. Until earlier this month, he was a Strategic Communications Advisor to Ukrainian President Zelensky. Mark Feigin, meantime, is a Russian lawyer and activist who has been involved in numerous high-profile defence cases. These include Leonid Razvozzhayev, a member of the opposition party, and Nadiya Savchenko, a captured Ukrainian air force pilot. Feigin’s attorney status was revoked by the Russian government in 2018 and he is now considered a foreign agent.
Twitch has previously faced legal action after being sued by James “PhantomL0rd” Varga and Herschel “Dr Disrespect” Beahm after they were banned from the site. Twitch and Dr Disrespect reached an out-of-court settlement for an unknown sum, but Twitch was ordered to pay $20,000 in damages in James Varga’s complaint. This is, however, a totally different position, and not simply because the Russian government requires substantially more money.
Twitch has not issued an official comment in response to the court verdict, and it is unclear how the streaming company will react. Russia’s media restrictions make truthful reporting on the crisis almost impossible. This begs the issue of whether Twitch will impose stronger content controls in order to comply with Russian legislation. However, given that Twitch ceased paying Russian broadcasters in March, it is no surprise that the platform would refuse to comply.