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How to Handle View/Follow-Bots

Last Updated: Jun 14, 2016 12:39PM PDT

How to Handle View/Follow-Bots

This article explains what view-botting and follow-botting are, and best practices if you suspect a channel of botting or think you have been botted.

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At Twitch, the concerns and welfare of the community as a whole are taken very seriously. We are always investigating artificially inflated viewers, chat activity, and follower counts, and are constantly collecting information on users that are utilizing these bots.

What is view-botting?
View-botting is the practice of artificially inflating a live view count, using illegitimate scripts or tools to make the channel appear to have more concurrent viewers than it actually does. It is important to not confuse this with a legitimate rise in concurrent viewership, such as being hosted, the channel being embedded elsewhere, or some other promotional source.
View-botting may also be accompanied by chat activity bots, which attempt to imitate streamer/viewer interaction.

What is follow-botting?
Follow-botting is when a channel is followed by a number of fake accounts. These accounts are usually controlled by a computer or script, and will attempt to look as 'real' as possible while following the target account en masse. These fake accounts are generally made and detected in batches, meaning that if you have been the victim of follow-botting, you may notice a sudden dip in followers from time to time as the batches are removed.

Why is botting bad?
View-botting and selling view-botting services are against our Terms of Service. View and follow-botting are both damaging to the community because it is a form of cheating that takes away growth opportunities from other legitimate broadcasters. Furthermore, it works like steroids for a channel - with all the negative side effects included. False viewer growth is not conducive to establishing a career in broadcasting because the ‘viewers’ do not actually contribute to your success as a broadcaster. Once a guilty party is caught (and they are), botting leads to the immediate and indefinite end of that career. In the meantime, sellers of view-botting services make a lot of money off the broadcaster making false promises of partnership.

How to Deal with Being Botted
Twitch will not punish a user for the actions of another. If you are not responsible for botting, Twitch will not take action against you.

The first thing is not to panic or worry! If you are a broadcaster and are being botted we recommend:
  • If you have an idea of who is behind it, report them. If you have any information about sellers of view-botting services who approach you, report them. Attach any and all evidence (screenshots, video) you have!
  • Do not make it into a larger issue than it is. For many trolls, a reaction is what they are looking for, and as the common saying goes: “don’t feed the trolls.” This is not always easy, but if you do not react strongly, likely they will eventually get bored and move on.
  • If asked about it, feel free to acknowledge the issue in a calm and civil manner. You will deprive the trolls of the reaction they want out of you, while still letting your viewers know that you are aware of what is happening. Giving no response can sometimes be just as damaging.
     
HELPFUL HINT
Educate your mods/regulars on how to handle viewer reactions to your channel being botted and how to handle them on a case by case basis, answering the questions about view-bots in the same manner as described above. You are the broadcaster and you set the tone, but your community pillars can help you along the way.

How to Deal with Someone Else Being Botted
It is very important to remember that just because a channel is having its view count artificially inflated, it does not necessarily mean the channel owner is behind it. The most important thing in reporting a channel for view-botting is having evidence. While screenshots and sounds or video recordings hosted on 3rd party websites can be (and have been) faked and are not used as conclusive evidence, it is still good to attach it to your report, as it helps in the moderation process.