Not all bots have been created equally. Some, like the one’s created by Facebook, can help you get in touch with businesses more easily. Others, like the one’s Twitch deals with, can artificially boost the follower and viewer counts of streamers.
To stop this damaging practice, Twitch – a popular live streaming video platform – has resorted to filing a lawsuit against several makers of “view-bots, follow-bots, and chat-impersonation bots.”
According to Marketing SVP Matthew DiPietro, unregulated bots are a “persistent frustration,” creating a “very real problem that has damaging effects across our entire community.”
Some of the bots are used by content creators to increase their viewership and social activity; in turn, they hope they will be on the fast-track to gaining a Twitch partnership and overall success in the gaming business.
Other times, bots are used to prevent other streamers to win a partnership, by harassing them and trying to 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,” DiPietro wrote.
Before filing for the lawsuit, Twitch had already employed various “technological solutions” to detect and remove false viewers. At the same time, its support teams and moderators had systematically investigated and dealt with reports of unusually boosted follower and viewer count.
But when all else failed to reduce the number of bots, DiPietro said the company decided to pursue legal action as “third layer” of its efforts. “Twitch viewers and broadcasters [must be protected] from the damaging effects of this kind of malicious activity,” he added.
In the legal complaint, the company explains how exactly these malicious bots “disrupt” the Twitch Partnership program. Bots help some streamers take “deceptive actions” that enable them to have inflated viewer statistics; in the process, legitimate broadcaster channels are harmed because their discoverability is severely decreased.
In turn, these actions have a damaging effect on the “quality of the experience community members have come to expect from Twitch.” The allegations made in the lawsuit include unfair competition, fraud, federal trademark infringement, cybersquatting, and breach of contract.
In spite of pursuing this matter legally, Twitch believes that there’s a better way these viewbot sellers can be stopped: if you don’t want them to profit off of empty promises, simply don’t buy their services, says DiPietro.
Image Source: Dribble