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On Artificial Viewers, Followers, and Chat Activity

Jun 17 2016 - By Matthew DiPietro

We at Twitch are well aware that view-bots, follow-bots, and chat-impersonation bots are a persistent frustration. Exploited by a small minority, these services have created a very real problem that has damaging effects across our entire community.

For those unaware, these bots are used to artificially inflate the apparent view count, follower count, and chat activity on a Twitch channel.

Sometimes these bots are used by a broadcaster who believes the perception of higher viewership and social activity will put them on the fast-track to success or Twitch partnership. Other times, bots are used to harass other broadcasters in order to attempt to deny them partnership, or get their channel suspended. All of this is enabled by bot services offered by a handful of sellers who make misleading claims for their own commercial benefit. We take this situation very seriously and would like you to know what we’re doing about it.

First, we employ a range of technological solutions to detect false viewers and remove them. This is an ongoing effort that requires regular maintenance and engineering, and one we’re dedicated to continuing and making even more effective.

Second, our moderation, support, and partnerships teams regularly investigate reports of artificially inflated viewer and follower counts, as well as fake chat activity, and respond to them on a case-by-case basis.

Today we are adding a third layer. We are taking the next step toward protecting Twitch viewers and broadcasters from the damaging effects of this kind of malicious activity by taking public legal action against seven of the most active sellers of viewbot services. See here for the full text of the public legal complaint.

Ultimately though, the best way to stop viewbot sellers from profiting off of empty promises is to not buy their services. Using viewbots hurts anyone using them on their own channel or found to be using them against other channels, as well as the Twitch community at large.

For more information on viewbot use and how to handle it, please visit our help article on How to Handle View/Follow-Bots.

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