Twitch bans 7.5 million bot accounts to bring more transparency to viewer numbers

It’s bots versus bots.

Photo by ELLA DON/Creative Commons

Twitch, the internet’s number one source for everyone from professionals to amateurs playing video games, has delivered a fatal blow to view-botters. In a statement on Twitter, the company confirmed that it has banned 7.5 million accounts that break their TOS and are primarily used for view-botting.

View-botting is big business in the streaming world, as people engage in buying botted views to pushes themselves up the streamer charts. While it might sound foolish, and strictly ego driven, the big dollars and endorsement deals might prove tempting for some folks out there.

Twitch has utilized machine learning in their attempts to identify the fake accounts, which some unscrupulous streamers may hire to pump up their viewer numbers and generate hype around their channel.

The company has advised that people may notice their viewership numbers and follow counts going down over the coming days and has advised anybody who is affected to check out a special website they have set up.

One important thing to keep in mind is that just because you see someone’s number going down does not mean that they are consciously botting to try and improve their standing on Twitch. Many channels may be affected by bots that trawl through chat logs for information, try to score giveaways, free games, and drops through streams.

Other streamers may have also had overly-passionate fans purchase bots for them, as they might believe they are somehow helping the person to do better on Twitch. In short, the issue is vastly more complicated than a knee-jerk reaction to reduced numbers may imply.