A recent data breach shows that a far-right QAnon conspiracy theory appears to have made more than $150,000 from the platform since 2019, according to an analysis conducted by a security researcher.streamer with links to the
On Wednesday, an anonymous user posted a torrent file on the fringe message board 4chan for a 125-gigabyte folder full of purported Twitch data. The file, which was no longer available to view on 4chan as of Thursday afternoon, circulated widely and spawned numerous memes and viral tweets.
Twitch confirmed on Twitter and in a statement to Insider on Wednesday that a breach had occurred, saying that "teams are working with urgency to understand the extent of this." The platform has not confirmed whether any of the data leaked in the breach is accurate.
—Twitch (@Twitch) October 6, 2021
The leaked file, reviewed by Insider, contains a folder called "twitch-payouts," which holds another folder called "all-revenues." Within that folder, there are dozens of subfolders containing spreadsheets that appear to include information about how much streamers have earned through subscriptions to their channel, advertisements people have watched on their broadcasts, and "bits," which are virtual tokens that people can purchase and use to write special messages in a streamer's chat.
All the streamers are listed on the spreadsheets by numerical IDs, which Twitch assigns to every user. The numerical IDs can be traced back to verbal names, or account handles, using websites such as StreamWeasles.
A security researcher told Insider that the data included in the file shows the streamer Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman appears to have earned over $150,000 on Twitch since August 2019.
Maras-Lindeman, a podcaster who broadcasts on Twitch under the handle "Tore Says," has over 24,000 followers on the streaming platform. She has used the QAnon slogan "where we go one, we go all" in past live streams and has sometimes switched out the "O" in her username for an image of a "Q," according to The New York Times, which listed her in an article in April as one of several far-right extremists finding success on Twitch.
QAnon has become a sprawling network of baseless, far-right conspiracy theories, but began with the false claim that then-President Donald Trump was fighting to take down a "deep state" cabal of human traffickers. Its popularity has been amplified by influencers and podcasters who promote it to their followers.
Maras-Lindeman has also encouraged her viewers to go into stores without wearing face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, The Times reported.
The researcher, who releases cybersecurity-related reports under the Substack newsletter Trapezoid of Discovery, said they wished to remain anonymous due to privacy concerns. Insider verified their real name and background and viewed screenshots of the researcher's data.
The researcher said they created a code command that automatically combed through the various files, matching ToreSays' numerical ID to IDs on the spreadsheets and adding up the revenue amounts.
—TRAPEZOID OF DISCOVERY (@get_innocuous) October 6, 2021
"I aggregated the data from the files in the Twitch-payouts directory," they explained over Twitter.
Maras-Lindeman appears to have made a majority of her Twitch income since August 2019 ($109,000) through users subscribing to her channel, according to the researcher's report, screenshots of which they also posted on Twitter.
Insider did not fully replicate this researcher's data compilation method but found that Maras-Linderman appears to have made $5018.52 in the month of January 2021, according to the purported data. If this amount were consistent over the course of a year, she would make $60,222.24 annually.
Maras-Lindeman also has a YouTube account, "Tore Says Show," with over 16,000 subscribers, and a personal blog, where she has written at least one post sharing the false conspiracy theory that President Joe Biden did not fairly win the 2020 United States election.
The purported payments do not include the money she has earned through her Patreon, YouTube ad revenue, or other kinds of donations. Fans gave her $84,000 in non-Twitch donations for a birthday, according to The Times' report.
Twitch did not respond to a request for additional comment regarding these findings.
Maras-Linderman did not respond to a request for comment.