WARNING: The following activity is not to be encouraged. This act could potentially lead to serious injury or even death. What is described here is unacceptable and illegal.
'Swatting' is the act of calling emergency services and sending authorities (mostly SWAT Teams, hence the name) to the house of a victim, usually by claiming that gunshots have been heard in the building or that someone has taken a hostage. People can be victims for any number of reasons, but livestreamers, including gamers, are particular targets due to the perpetrator being able to watch the swatting live on camera. This is considered an illegal activity in certain countries, as it is at best wasting police term and at worst terrorism-by-proxy and attempted murder.
The term "swatting" was coined by the FBI for these types of cases in 2008, viewing them as an offshoot of hoax bomb threats that were common previously.
Notable cases include phreaker Matthew Weigman pleading guilty to charges of "involvement in a swatting conspiracy" and being sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. California State Senator Ted Lieu and political commentator Erick Erickson have been notable victims of swatting.
Swatting became very popular in 2013 and 2014 specifically, starting with a number of U.S. celebrities being victims of swatting pranks in 2013 and various YouTube gamers and gaming personalities including Kootra, Wesley "Wolvereness" Wolfe and Bungie executives being swatted in 2014.
Swatting has continued to this day, with gamers getting swatted more than anyone else, including GamerGate supporters, website founders and even more livestreamers.
In August 2015, the term made it into OxfordDictionaries.com.
Death of Andrew Finch
On December 28, 2017, a SWAT team shot and killed 28-year-old Andrew Finch at his Wichita, Kansas home after they were called over an alleged swatting prank. Based on a series of Twitter posts, the Wichita Eagle suggests that Finch was the unintended victim of the prank after two Call of Duty: WWII players on the same team got into a heated argument over a $2 bet. On December 29, 2017, LAPD arrested 25-year-old serial swatter Tyler Raj Barriss, known online as “SWAuTistic” and “GoredTutor36”, in connection with Finch's death. Barriss is currently being sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison.