If you stream on Twitch and are just slightly aware of what is going on in your chat, and how you can view who is on it without them actually writing in there – you will have noticed the same names coming back time and time again. Without saying a word. They are just there.
As time passes on you might start to ponder. Why and who? As just the streamer next door – I can’t verify anything. All I can do is ponder and theorize – and stay vigilant, while telling my fellow content creators to do the same.
There’s a few loopholes that some people use and abuse – for example scripting to generate thousands of accounts in a short timespan, or to automatically write in peoples chats or even privately.
It is super hard to fight breaching and abuse online, because there is ways to hide and block exposure. These people are really good at what they do which also explains why we hear of former hackers and abusers getting well paid and legit jobs to fight their former comrades.
As I said, we don’t know what the bot accounts does in our chats, or why. The majority of the time anyway – there is a couple doing a few different things. I have seen one that is assembling a community and another who is legit showing statistics on their own channel.
Theory: The bad ones can be everything from scraping stats (viewercount, actvity) to info on personal info when someone slips up and write something in chat they shouldnt, to mess things up for the content creator by adding fake viewcounts, which twitch will punish you for, to accounts that lead hate raids.
Hate raids are basically groups of people who target people of minority, which includes but not limited to, women, people with different skin colours, and gender choices such as transgender and transpeople. They come in, write coordinated messages and flood the chat of the streamer they are attacking.
Theory: Some are noting users down to enlist to send messages to or visit when live, some write directly in the open chat with spam, usually selling services such as making your follow or viewcount bigger – question is if its worth the risk. I would say no. It can be a little frustrating trying to grow, because growing as content creator is super hard these days so seeing an option to jump the low fence or make things easier is alluring options, just know it’ll either not work at all or worse – you’ll get hit by a punishment. And you are out of money.
My experience with doing 3 simple things has turned out positively for me, my mental health and for people visiting my streams (mind the following are features Twitch support, not all sites offers the same):
Using block of words or phrases in the moderator backend to block the mention of the different sites that sells the viewbots turns out to be really effective against this. That will keep your chat clean – until a new site pops up or they change how to write the address but thats a one time thing because you block the new one immediately.
Locking my whispers from strangers as these people have begun to whisper people instad.
Banning accounts that are bot accounts. Twitchinsights keeps a list refreshed of accounts that is in hundreds of channels or more at any given time. Its easy to look up users and see how many channels they were last seen in – mind if a user dont show up, expect its not a bot account, just someone who watches your stream legitamely. If you are using firebot, its even easier as the software is using twitchinsights list to seperate these accounts in the viewerlist for streamer to easily see – and ban. This also makes your stream less useful for the people behind the botnetworks, as they can’t interact with chat or see viewerlist – and they can’t follow to get notifications.
This not only keeps your viewerlist more clean for you as a streamer, it also keeps you and your community more safe by not having these people have accounts in your chat to do whatever they are doing. I personally allow the bots i know why they are coming in – Lurxx is a really good example as he livestreams different stats on his account.
That being said – explore features and settings, figure out what you prefer – you might like being able to talk a little smack to the spambots for content and maybe you just don’t experience it enough to want to do anything about it. Just have your community in mind, as some users would find it aggravating – make sure to always ask regular viewers what they think could be an improvement.
My experience with the above has made my chat feel clean and clear of madness – also in the backend. There is the occasional account that turns up under “known bots” but they are gone as quickly as I notice them.
Why isn’t Twitch doing more to protect their userbase? I am sure there is ways, but i can also completely understand why there’s focus on other things, the site is running in negative moneyflow as is. If a third party person can see these numbers and mark these users as bot accounts, Twitch can too. The info is taken from there – so why can’t Twitch just shadow ban them, letting them think everything is fine and their messages getting sent to people and they are just.. not. However its getting harder with the bots hanging in accounts, which can just be banned. And Twitch needs to be able to close the issue with scripting to make accounts. Twitch should take more responsibility.