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Bots banned… on Twitch

It's not just the live music industry grappling with the problem of illicit software – just ask execs at Amazon's gaming/music live-streaming platform

By IQ on 03 Mar 2017

Twitch sign, PAX South 2016, San Antonio, Daniel Benavides

Twitch's booth at PAX South 2016 in San Antonio, Texas

image © Daniel Benavides

A prolific operator of bots on popular live-streaming platform Twitch has been slapped with an injunction ordering him to shut down his business.

Justin Johnson, one of seven defendants, was the target of a lawsuit by the company and its parent, Amazon, for selling software to artificially boost streamers’ viewer numbers.

Several of the most-followed streamers on the service, known as partners, are entitled to a share of ad revenue. The complaint alleged the defendants “design, sell, and deploy bot services – software that mimics the behaviour of real users. These bot services capitalise on broadcasters’ desire to become popular on Twitch and to become partners by promising shortcuts to both… [making] channels appear higher in directories and trick Twitch into accepting broadcasters into the partnership programme, with its promise of additional revenue.”

California judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled on Wednesday (1 March) that Johnson must immediately shut down his business, and banned him from offering similar services in future.

Twitch is best known as a platform for videogamers, although it also has a music live-streaming service, Twitch Music, for Kelly Clarkson-style broadcast of live music.


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