Twitch spammer faces criminal charges in Canada

Brandan Apple of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia is facing charges in connection with a massive spambot attack against Twitch streamers that took place between February and May of 2017. According to the CBC, Apple is facing a charge of "mischief in relation to computer data," for "willfully causing multiple repetitive messages to be transmitted." 

The criminal charges are separate from, but connected to, a civil case filed in BC Supreme Court that sheds more light on what happened. The lawsuit claims that more than 1000 Twitch channels were affected by the attack, which saw 150,000 messages posted at an average rate of 34 per minute, and as rapidly as 600 per minute on some channels.

A petition filed in the aftermath of the attack (via Ars Technica) as part of the effort to determine the originator's identity says the messages contained—entirely unsurprisingly—"racism, homophobia, sexual harassment, links to shock imagery, false implications of view-botting and soliciting child sex exploitation material." 

Twitch eventually traced the spam back to, a site allegedly run by Apple. The site is no longer up, but a video demonstrating the service that promises "instant, unusable chat" on Twitch channels is still available on YouTube. Apple himself has been slapped with an order barring him from making or owning anything that could be used to mess with Twitch.

"Mischief in relation to computer data" may sound like the sort of thing you'd yell at your kid for, but it's actually fairly serious stuff: The Canadian Criminal Code states that in cases "in relation to property that is a testamentary instrument or the value of which exceeds five thousand dollars," the maximum penalty is ten years in prison.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.