Twitch Takes Legal Action Against Spammy Traffic Inflating Viewerbot Services

Twitch is a wonderful thing. It's the world's leading live video platform for gamers where more than 100 million people go to every month to broadcast, watch, and chat about gaming. But with its popularity there's also potential for abuse, which has come in the form of various bots. More than just an annoyance, Twitch views them as a "very real problem that has damaging effects across our entire community," so it's now starting to take legal action against their creators.

Why use bots on Twitch? There are several reasons a gamer might look to one of the several available bots that are out there.


"For those unaware, these bots are used to artificially inflate the apparent view count, follower count, and chat activity on a Twitch channel. Sometimes these bots are used by a broadcaster who believes the perception of higher viewership and social activity will put them on the fast-track to success or Twitch partnership. Other times, bots are used to harass other broadcasters in order to attempt to deny them partnership, or get their channel suspended," Twitch explains in a blog post.

This is something Twitch has been battling for some time now. The service has various ways of detecting false viewers and removing them, which is part of a larger ongoing effort that requires regular maintenance and engineering. Twitch also relies on its moderators, support channel, and partnership teams to regularly be on the lookout for bots.

Now Twitch is adding what it says is a third layer, that being public legal action taken against seven of the most active sellers of "viewbot" services. Accusations run the gamut from trademark infringement and unfair competition, to cybersquatting and outright fraud. You can view the full text of the lawsuit here (PDF).

It remains to be seen how successful Twitch will be in the legal arena. In the meantime, Twitch pleaded with gamers not to use the services, saying the "best way to stop viewbot sellers from profiting off of empty promises is not to buy their services."
Tags:  games, spam, bots, twitch