Twitch has delivered a widespread ban of 7.5 million bot accounts that have been contributing to "the rise of fake engagement" on the platform, the company said.
A majority of these fakes accounts engaged in follow-botting or view-botting, which breaks Twitch's Terms of Service. They were detected by "ongoing machine learning technology that will continue to improve," Twitch said on Twitter. The result of this widespread ban may cause some streamers' follower or viewer counts to decrease. Twitch pointed affected streamers to an article about fake engagement to learn more.
A majority of these accounts were detected through ongoing machine learning technology that will continue to improve and we will continue to operate going forward. We engage in enforcement when necessary including pursuing legal action.— Twitch Support (@TwitchSupport) April 14, 2021
Fake engagement, according to Twitch, is the "artificial inflation of channel statistics, such as views or follows, through coordination or 3rd party tools." This behavior includes things like follow-botting and view-botting, using accounts controlled by a computer or script to falsify channel statistics so they are better than they appear. Other methods are "Follow 4 Follow" (F4F), "Lurk 4 Lurk" (L4L), and "Host 4 Host" (H4H). In essence, anything that "involve[s] a mutual exchange of interaction intended to increase visibility of [some] channels over those with legitimate interaction" could be determined as artificial channel inflation.
"Artificial engagement and botting limit growth opportunities for legitimate broadcasters and are damaging to the community as a whole," Twitch wrote in the help article. Streamers who organize or participate in the practice will see "an enforcement issued on [the] account," which could include an indefinite suspension.
This massive bot ban comes as Twitch is clamping down on those who engage in bad conduct and harassment, even if the action is done off-platform. The company also added tools to help streamers deal with copyright strikes.
In other Twitch news, variety streamer Ludwig Ahgren has more subscribers on the platform than streaming superstar Tyler "Ninja" Blevins. Ahgren has been hosting a monthlong subathon.
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