Chat logging bot - against TOS but widely used?


I’m a programmer and looking to join forces with some people to perform some social studies online, as a user since the inception of Twitch, the area that I would love to tackle is twitch. Specifically, using an NLTK and chat logs to analyse some user behavior on Twitch.

I dont have any questions about the API as it is well documented, the obvious first thing to do is assess whether it is allowed. Botting on Twitch is very common place, and there are even popular services like that appear to log all chat and offer a non-commercial plugin to review chat logs while viewing streams as a nifty little idea.

However, from my initial assessment, it seems this is outright forbidden in the TOS, source:
(, “Twitch Terms of Service - Last modified on 1/15/2015”, Accessed, 01/08/2015)

Prohibited Conduct.

The Twitch Services may include interactive areas or services (" Interactive Areas “), such as chat boxes or web forums, in which you or other users may create, post or store content, messages, materials, data, information, text, music, sound, photos, video, graphics, applications, code or other items or materials on the Twitch Services (” User Content " and collectively with Broadcaster Content, " Content ")…

You agree that you will comply with these Terms of Service and Rules of Conduct and will not:…

…use any robot, spider, scraper, crawler or other automated means to access the Twitch Service…

So here we see that chat falls into the defined term “Twitch Service”, and any form of crawling/scraping such as botting or a spider is not allowed.

I’ve looked extensively and do not see any legal remedy to this where they later make an express legal claim that the prohibition is excepted under X or Y circumstance.

So, as somebody whos started using Twitch around the same time as and, (the start), obviously I think this falls in flat contrast to the actual user behavior. I imagine if any moderators/administrators ruled on this policy, they would say this exists as a preventative measure, and perhaps a sensible implementation of the rule is just to ask individual channels for permission before doing so. At least, this makes sense in when you consider it against the fact that every large channel on twitch uses custom botting to make the experience better for their audience.

Anyway, if anybody twitch admins can refer me to a policy that supercedes this one, if any user can link me to a public thread that states an exception to this policy, or if an actual employee of twitch could provide me any ruling on this, i would really appreciate it.

I’m only being so formal about wanting something in writing, because I dont want to invest a lot of time/money then get a gag order about using information I obtained that is in clear violation of their policy (even though there appears to be rampant violation of said policy). Also, sorry if this has already been answered, I did some searching and did not run into a similar thread, and I figured making a public discussion on this part of the TOS might be good for the API community.

Chances are good that you will need to contact the Twitch legal team directly, because this is a forum for third party developers.

Yeh, I just thought considering the scale of people not abiding the TOS somebody might have an insight or perhaps it was lurked by admin. I’m not keen on the idea of bothering their legal team with a question for a user behavior research project… I’ll perhaps consider it after a few days if nobody at all is participating in the discussion and further research turns up no information.

Its just strange though, we have dozens of third party bots developed for Twitch, probably tens of thousands of man hours spent developing bots for Twitch. There are literally people streaming under creative building bots for Twitch.

And yet, bots and things of that kind are entirely prohibited under the TOS. I thought it might have been a good subject to discuss with other developers, and also get to quickly decide whether I have to ignore the lead platform of Twitch for our project.

The short answer is: For an authoritative answer that you can have in writing, and have it mean something is: Contact Twitch legal. It’s literally a part of their job description. Anything said here (and likely even if a staff member responds) ultimately comes to naught if Twitch’s legal team / executive staff decides otherwise.

(This is my own personal opinion and not an official answer in any way)

Practically speaking you shouldn’t run into any issues as long as you are only joining and logging/analyzing data from channels with explicit permission from the channel’s owner. People tend to really freak out when a bot is sitting in their channel that they didn’t invite.

In general the implications of the ToS on chat aren’t very clear. I’m of the opinion that when connecting via IRC it’s considered part of the API which is basically designed to be accessed by some automated means.

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