In the past few days, Twitch streamers have noticed an incredible influx of subscribers, which should be good for the platform and the content creators. However, something fishy seems to be afoot and no one can really nail down what exactly is happening. As best anyone can tell, Twitch streamers are getting new subscriptions from users that are not in their active chat and just recently created an account.
It might seem innocuous enough, but there definitely is something off about the accounts and the subscriptions. Some seem to believe that it might be compromised Twitch accounts or bots subscribing to popular content creators, while others speculate it has something to do with Fortnite’s recently announced Twitch Prime tie-in.
Word of the suspect subscriptions first started filtering through the Internet when ShortyyGuy, a popular Twitch streamer, took to Twitter to say his channel had received subscriptions from “compromised accounts.” According to ShortyyGuy, the subscribers were never part of his channel’s viewer list and they never talked in chat – an odd thing for someone that enjoys a channel enough to give money to it. And although Twitch recently restored some subscriptions and even gave those users a free sub to a channel, this seems to be much larger than that and many are noting similar patterns with Twitch Prime subs.
Kinda a weird thing to complain about, but the compromised Amazon Prime accounts spam subbing Twitch Prime to channels needs a fix.— SHORTY (@shortyyguy) March 1, 2018
Sure it's more money in the streamer's pocket but it's still not right.
Ive had 100+ offline subs subscribe to me. Those accounts are obviously compromised so i report the incident to twitch— Alan Widmann (@hotted89) March 1, 2018
This... explains a lot actually. I’ve noticed this on my end too. Are we sure that’s what’s going on?— Hayli ⚡️ (@HayliNic) March 1, 2018
By doing a little digging, Twitch viewers were able to discover numerous accounts that were both created within the last 24 hours and following no streamers. Yet somehow these accounts decided to redeem Twitch Prime and subscribe to a content creator. But what’s very interesting about the influx of new subscribers is that they appear to be most prevalent in Fortnite streams.
It’s the Fortnite connection that has many wondering if there might be something even more nefarious afoot than just bot accounts. And some deeper digging shows that might be the case.
The Popularity of Fortnite's Twitch Prime Skins
Over on eBay, there are numerous auctions and sales for Twitch accounts with Prime active. For the average person this would be pointless, but for Fortnite players this means access to the exclusive Twitch Prime Fortnite skins, so many are willing to pay the $5 dollars or so to unlock the skins.
However, it appears that these accounts being sold are actually purchased using stolen credit card information. The seller gets access to dozens of credit card numbers, purchases a bunch of Amazon prime accounts and links them to a Twitch account, and then sells the Twitch account to Fortnite fans looking for the skins. And those that purchase the accounts figure that they might as well use the Twitch Prime subscription, and end up giving it to a popular Twitch streamer.
No doubt the Twitch Prime Fortnite skin promotion has helped boost subscribers to Amazon’s service organically and that, in turn, has benefited Fortnite streamers. Popular streamer Ninja has seen his channel’s subscriber numbers jump from about 50,000 one week ago to about 95,000 when he ended stream on March 3rd.
That’s a huge amount of growth and a lot of it can be attributed simply to the fact Ninja is the top Fortnite streamer and arguably one of the best playing the game. But one has to wonder if the claims of bots and these suspect accounts are also involved in the influx of subscribers for Twitch streamers.
The good news is that the content creator still gets paid for the subscription regardless. Nevertheless, expect Twitch to look closely at this recent development and hopefully offer clarity on the situation.
[UPDATE: Twitch has released an official statement on the influx of new subscribers and the Fortnite promotion.]
"It’s awesome to see so many players jump on the Battle Bus with the Twitch Prime Fortnite offer. We’ve seen large numbers of players trying Twitch Prime for the first time, getting free loot, and using their first monthly free channel subscription. It’s great to see many broadcasters getting a bump from these new Twitch Prime members. New members are subscribing to these popular Fortnite channels and we haven’t seen any indication of bot activity."