Twitch, a subsidiary of Amazon, is trying to pull the plug on bots.
The live-streaming platform has filed a lawsuit against seven bot makers for selling bots that are allegedly used to inflate view count, follower count, and chat activity on Twitch channels.
In a blog post, the company’s SVP of marketing, Matthew DiPietro, says commercial reasons drive bot creators to cheat the platform, where users can post or watch broadcasts of people playing video games. Twitch runs a partnership program offering perks like allowing people to sell subscriptions, release merchandise, or delay broadcasts to avoid competition. However, the bar for achieving partnership status is set pretty high. As a result, view-bots, follow-bots, and chat-impersonation bots are frequently employed to help broadcasters increase their viewership—or to harass competing broadcasters.
The suit accuses the seven bot makers of federal trademark infringement, unfair competition, cybersquatting, fraud, breach of contract, and tortious interference. The company, which is seeking damages, wants all the bot makers to be barred from using Twitch’s service, from developing any software that interacts with the Twitch services, or from selling the bots to anyone.
As Twitch takes the legal route, DiPietro continued to wage war on the ground, explaining the company’s efforts to root out and investigate false viewers and calling upon Twitch users to help stop the proliferation of bots sold for nefarious purposes.
Ultimately, he says, “the best way to stop viewbot sellers from profiting off of empty promises is to not buy their services.”