Twitch has always had a love/hate relationship with bots. Some are welcomed and encouraged, such as those that maintain decorum in chat. Others, however, are against the service's terms of service - such as those that create false conversation and false viewership. This week, the company has announced that it has rooted out over 7.5 million of these bots and removed them from the service entirely.
As a result of these account closures, streamers might see a major reduction in numbers. The most obvious change that this could produce for streamers is fewer followers. With that many accounts being removed, it is likely that even smaller accounts could have one or more of these bots on their follower lists. Over the next few streams, people might also notice less fake engagement, as well as fewer viewers who are silent in chat.
For those of us who spend time on Twitch, we've likely all seen those nonsense accounts that come in, post an advertising message in chat, and then leave. Hopefully, this change will also help reduce those annoying "engagements." However, since Twitch is free to join, it is easy enough to create a new account and run the software all over again.
Of course, using machine learning, the company should be able to improve its operations going forward. If all goes well, this means that the system may be able to sniff out these accounts early on, preventing their unrealistic impact on numbers. It's always disappointing when you believe you've built something up only to have that perspective changed, but it's also better for everyone to have an accurate view of reality. Hopefully, this spree will help make the Twitch community a little closer and a little more engaging. Maybe it will even help streamers feel like they've got a better handle on their channels.