Twitch is taking steps to crack down on fake engagement methods, including viewership botting and lurk for lurk viewership.
“We recently made changes to help us better detect and remove artificial views from view counts, such as from 3rd party sites,” the Twitch Support Twitter feed stated. “Fake engagement, such as viewbotting or Follow4Follow and Lurk4Lurk groups, is against our rules. Participating in or organizing these activities may lead to the suspension of your Twitch account.”
Lurk 4 Lurk, Host 4 Host, and Follow 4 Follow communities see streamers trade viewership and engagement with one another in order to make their channels appear more active than they actually are. This is typically done in an effort to reach affiliate and partner status faster.
Twitch also made it clear that views from users that have muted the stream, tabbed out, or are not chatting will still be counted. How they will actually detect the difference is currently unknown.
The response to the tweet was largely positive, particularly from streamers that became affiliates and partners through normal means. That said, others are frustrated with the lack of action Twitch takes in regards to other bot practices that are relatively common on the platform but are actively destructive.
Malicious bots have been used to overwhelm streamers and mods, and completely take over the chat during broadcasts. While some streamers are able to handle it, others have ended their streams because of the unignorable form of harassment. The fact that Twitch is doing little to address this problem, but seem to be taking serious steps to stop the comparatively harmless Lurk 4 Lurk or Follow 4 Follow crowds, doesn’t sit well with many.
Twitch has encouraged the community to report instances of viewbotting when they see them. If a streamer finds themselves being attacked by bots, they should stay calm and ignore them or calmly explain to the chat about what’s happening and otherwise continue as normal.