One of the most common annoyances that Twitch streamers deal with is follow bots. Every day, streamers are hit randomly with follow bots ranging from hundreds to tens of thousands of fake accounts. These events can be nerve-wracking at the moment as notifications and chat spam takes over the stream. After the fact they can be frustrating because of how it makes your channel look: lots of followers, but no viewers. There’s also the fear of what Twitch may do if they believe you are purchasing said follow bots. Twitch’s own Help Forum article isn’t exactly too helpful either. Today, I’m laying out the steps you can take to handle Twitch follow bots.
Why do Follow Bots Exist?
Follow bots exist on ANY platform with the vanity metric of followers. If there’s a publicly facing follower count, there will be follow bots. On some platforms, follow counts are important. Instagram, Twitter, YouTube – the concept of having lots of followers suggests to others that you’re content worth subscribing to. On those platforms, there is real economics to having follows, and so people pay for them. On Twitch, there is almost NO benefit to having a lot of fake followers. No viewer looks at view count as an indicator of content. In fact, the opposite might be true. (If you have lots of followers, but few viewers – it could indicate you’re a ‘has been’.)
That said, there are still people who believe that a bigger follow count will benefit their channel and as such, there’s people who pay for it. In order to hide follow bot activity on Twitch, many services randomly spread their follow bots around to ‘hide in plain sight’. It’s harder for Twitch to target the people PAYING for follow bots, if a lot of innocent people are hit with them too.
What to do When You’re Being Hit with Follow Bots Live
If your event feed all of a sudden starts rolling through new names following your channel – chances are you’ve just been hit with follow bots. Here are the immediate steps to take:
- Disable your notifications. This is mostly to make your stream watchable, as hundreds of notifications going off is what your community is going to focus on.
- Ignore the fact you’ve been hit with follow bots. Many people get all flustered or concerned about it. It ruins their mood and the stream goes into a strange place. Instead, don’t worry about it! It’s inconsequential to you and your stream – so just move on!
- Finish your stream before trying to address it. Don’t try to fix this problem while you’re live! You’re more likely to make a mistake or do damage your channel if your attention is on both the bots AND engaging your audience.
How to Fix the Problem of Follow Bots
Now that your stream is over, you can address the follow bot situation. It’s also important to know that it is very rare to be suspended for a follow bot situation. Over the last two years, I have only documented TWO cases of people getting banned for follow bots – and in both cases, it was because they showed how to do it live on their streams. So, don’t panic – Twitch is not going to ban you.
Now, here’s what you can do to address the bots.
- You can do nothing. Believe it or not, but sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. Maybe Twitch bans the bots at some point, maybe not.
- Report the bots. If you want to do a huge civic service to the Twitch community, report the bots to Twitch. This may not be viable for thousands of bots, but even actively reporting a few dozen can help Twitch identify other bots – and one day, remove them all.
- Remove the Bots via CommanderRoot‘s Follower Remover Tool. When Twitch changed how bans work, it now enables you to remove followers from your channel. CommanderRoot’s tool allows you to batch remove followers from your channel sorted by date, time, username, and other criteria.
The Follower Remover Tool is incredibly powerful BUT it also VERY easy to mess up. Not configuring it correctly can remove ALL your channels followers, setting you BACK days, months, or even years of followers. In some cases, preventing those people from even refollowing your channel. So please take your time with this! You can find the Follow Bot remover tool here, and a video on how to properly operate it embedded below.