Twitch’s recent announcement on curbing the fake account bots, fake follower bots and fake chat bots has stunned the tech industry. Perhaps, it’s a good news for the genuine Twitch users and the company as well. Less than a day ago, Twitch’s SVP at marketing Matthew DiPietro has announced that the company has filed lawsuits against the top creators and sellers of such botting programs.
So far, many Twitch users (including some companies) were using follower bots, view bots and chat bots bought from the internet selling firms to inflate their numbers artificially. They used to get benefits from the Twitch’s recommendation algorithms to bump up the profiles and views.
In the official blog post, DiPietro said that the use of artificial viewers, followers and chat bots are against the company’s terms of service. He said:
“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.”
One example of how any broadcaster could get bumped up in the Twitch feed: A live game streamer with a higher follower count (most of them are fake) gets “recommendation” by Twitch for other online users in the feed when he uses the chat bot to look like real-user chatting than the genuine broadcaster with a low number of follower counts and lesser live chats.
Broadcasters have also used these bots to harass competitive broadcasters, interfere with their attempt at a partnership and to get their Twitch channel suspended. These kind of activities can be seen on Facebook and Twitter where many fake accounts have been created and people (even IT Cells of major political parties) start to abuse real users, report real users and get them banned from the social media.
The surprise came in the news is the legal action, which seems better to Twitch than keep on attempting to curb such bots by using engineering and moderation solutions. Matthew DiPietro said:
“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.”
The most popular gaming and streaming service Twitch is adding more features to its platform and trying to become a more robust social destination by having big eSports partnerships. Hence, it seems the company is moving in the right direction to keep its “for fans, by fans” community trust.You can read the full legal brief here (pdf).