Twitch fights view-inflating bot makers with lawsuit

The lawsuit is part of an effort by the livestreaming site to prevent video creators from gaming the system and artificially inflating their view counts.

Twitch has just about had it with bots that artificially inflate view counts for videos. In fact, it’s taking the makers of such bots to court.

In a post published to the Twitch Blog on Friday, Matthew DiPietro, Twitch’s senior vice president of marketing, explained how the company is working to combat fraudulent view counts. In addition to the current steps Twitch takes—such as human moderation and technical measures to combat view-count inflation—the company announced that it would sue “seven of the most active sellers” of video view-inflating bots.

In Twitch’s formal complaint (PDF), which it filed with the United States District Court in San Jose, the company describes the bot services as “illicit and illegal,” and states that, “these deceptive actions inflate viewer statistics for some channels while harming legitimate broadcaster channels by decreasing their discoverability.”

“That, in turn, hurts the quality of the experience community members have come to expect from Twitch,” the claim continues.

Twitch’s filing also explains how gaming the system with bots harms other streamers who use the service legitimately, and “make it harder for Twitch users to discover legitimate broadcasters and for those broadcasters to succeed.”

The story behind the story: Although it may not seem like a big deal to viewers, view-count inflation is a big issue for streamers and video producers, especially given how it can impact a streamer’s bottom line. It isn’t new to Twitch, and it isn’t exclusive to Twitch.

Other sites, such as YouTube, also employ tactics to cut down on view-count inflation. In YouTube’s case, if a video surpassed 301 views, that video’s page would temporarily stop updating the view count so that YouTube could filter out “dubious” views, according to Business Insider. YouTube has since updated its filtering system so that it will filter out suspicious views on the fly, as The Verge reported last year.

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