Wherever there is a way to make money and accrue popularity, there’s an open door to abuse too. We all know that and the companies/websites selling view-botting, follower-botting and chat impersonation services targeting Twitch.tv’s streamers, have proven us right yet again. Such bots will artificially inflate the view count, the follower count and the social activity of a targeted Twitch channel and they can be used in several ways to accomplish different “goals”.
Some streamers out there – fortunately still a small minority – use such bots believing that the increased activity on their channel will fast-track them to real success. Others, use bots in a more malicious way, targeting the channels of other streamers with the goal of having Twitch partnership denied to them or even having their channel suspended. The bottom line is that nothing good or positive has ever come from the use of these “services” and Twitch have decided to move against them aggressively.
The site has adopted technology meant to weed out false viewers and it has been using it for a while now. While the system requires continuous maintenance and double-checking, it is something to which Twitch are set to dedicate resources in the future. Another dimension of Twitch’s fight against botters stretches into the realm of moderation and support: reports of artificially inflated/suspicious-looking view- and follower counts are closely examined and very seriously considered. This aspect is resource-intensive as well, but Twitch are committed to it too.
A few days ago, the site announced that they were taking their botter-wars to the next level, by targeting the seven most active viewbot service-providers with public legal action.
Everything considered though, at the end of the day, Twitch have made it clear that the best way to combat such petty fraud is to simply avoid the perpetrators and to not employ their services. Certainly, there will always be rotten apples in the basket, but with Twitch taking such a no-nonsense stance on the issue, gaming the system will be more difficult going ahead than ever…
Pete Wassenberg works for eSports White Label solution-provider Gosumedia.net.