Twitch has won a court case against a couple who were providing a viewer bot service.
Michael and Katherine Anjomi were running a business that offered streamers the chance to have their viewer and follower figures artificially inflated by bots.
The service was advertised as “undetectable”, using separate IP addresses for each bot and having them participate in Twitch chat in order to get around the usual methods of detecting streamers whose viewership is artificially inflated.
The benefit to such a service is that it boosts a streamer’s profile on the platform, giving them a greater chance of attracting more real viewers. It also potentially opens up more forms of monetization, as becoming a Twitch Partner and therefore being able to offer paid subscriptions to followers requires a certain level of consistent viewership.
Twitch originally sued the couple in June 2016, claiming that the service was hurting the platform by artificially increasing the prominence of lower-quality content, and also detracting from the experience of real viewers when a Twitch chat was filled with bot messages.
A ruling has now been made on the case. The couple have been told to disable their software and hand over the domains on which it was sold. In addition, they will also have to pay the $1.3million they earned through the business and a further $55,000 in damages.
This isn’t the only case of Twitch suing bot providers. The company won a similar case in March of 2017, but has had to abandon its pursuit of some bot services based overseas.