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What Is Lurking On Twitch? Is It Ok To Be A Lurker?

I am the type of person who likes to have noise in the background as I work on things. Most of the time this background noise for me is Twitch. But if I have a stream going, and I am not chatting or otherwise engaging with the stream, am I lurking?

What is Lurking on Twitch?

In a Tweet on October 16, 2019, Twitch defined lurking as “viewers who are watching, but may not be chatting, have the stream or browser tab muted, or may be watching a handful of streams at one time.” This type of lurking on Twitch is ok to do and won’t get you into any trouble with Twitch.

So I guess you can say that my usual routine of turning on a channel while I work on some things is considered lurking, but I am not alone.

In fact, many people in a stream are technically considered lurkers. They tune in, watch and listen, but don’t engage in any way such as by commenting, donating, subbing or even following. 

I am a lurker in several streams such as TimtheTatman, Dr. Lupo and SypherPK. I enjoy their streams, but I only have one Amazon Prime sub that I use on another streamer.

However, even in the stream I am subbed to I am still just a lurker. I sit back and don’t say a whole lot. I do enjoy the streams though!

If you are a lurker like me, don’t feel bad. Streamers don’t mind. To be honest they would rather have you sit there and say nothing than have you causing a raucous in the stream by using inappropriate language, spamming or just being a nuisance in the chat.

You just being in the channel is a benefit to the streamer.

Having more viewers in a channel will get the streamer increased recognition from Twitch itself and from possible sponsorships who usually look at average viewership over a given period of time when considering what streamers to work with and how much they will get paid. 

If however you are tired of being a lurker and want to put an end to your days of lurking by beginning to stream yourself, then consider getting a nice (budget friendly) mic like the Blue Snowball iCE, which you can get here on Amazon.

Blue has some of the best mics, and this mic is one of the best for the price.

Having a good mic is a must for a streamer. I always say that I feel like having a quality mic is more important than having a quality camera.

Now if you aren’t ready to stream just yet, then keep tuning in and lurking. It is still supporting a streamer and trust me, they don’t mind.

There are a few ways to lurk, and some forms of lurking are not allowed by Twitch so let’s talk about how to lurk. 

How to Lurk on Twitch?

Lurking on Twitch is simple. All you do is sit in the stream, but don’t engage in any way other than being in the stream. Typically you will only lurk in one stream at a time, but there are ways to lurk in multiple streams. 

How to Lurk in Multiple Streams on Twitch:

To lurk on multiple streams on twitch follow these steps:

  1. Download a tab muter extension on chrome. I prefer this one. 
  2. The mute tab extension will be added to your chrome extensions.
  3. Open up multiple streams and use the extension to mute the streams you want muted. 

Here is a short video that you can use if you need additional help on how to do this.

Keep in mind that when you use a tab muter that you will be counted as a viewer across multiple streams; however, you can only do this with a few streams running at a time before you are no longer counted as a viewer. 

Is Lurking on Twitch Legal?

If you sit in a stream and don’t engage with the stream other than by being present, or if you use a tab muter to have multiple streams going at once, then you won’t get in trouble with Twitch. However, if you are using bots to lurk on your channel or other channels then you are breaking Twitch’s rules.

And any time you break a rule on Twitch you run the risk of having your Twitch account suspended or banned. Using bots to artificially boost numbers is not worth it given the risk.

So let’s go into greater detail.

What are Viewbots on Twitch?

In recent updates, Twitch has been attempting to reduce and remove what they call “fake engagement”. Fake engagement is using third party tools to create artificial views and followers that artificially inflate the numbers of a given channel. This type of fake engagement is sometimes referred to as “view botting” or “follow botting”.

“View bots” or “follow bots” are just bots that trick Twitch into thinking that a channel has a certain number of viewers or followers when really they do not. Using bots creates fake or artificial viewers and followers and could get you into trouble. 

It is important to mention that the owner of a channel may not always be the person behind “view botting” or “follow botting”.

Sometimes it is one of their loyal supporters who mean well, but may just end up getting themselves and the streamer in hot water with Twitch.

In the long run, using third party tools, or “bots”, to boost your viewership artificially will only hurt you in the end. Fake viewers and fake followers will eventually be recognized by Twitch.

You may end up having your account permanently suspended by participating in this kind of fake engagement. It is not worth it. Don’t do it.

If you think someone is “view botting” you, you don’t need to panic. Remain cool and report the issue to Twitch. As stated in Twitch’s terms of services, “Twitch will not punish a user for the actions of another”. 

You can also have your mods keep an eye out for things like this and help to bring it to your attention. If they see an unusual number of viewers for no reason or if they see people talking about “view bots” in chat or on social media then they should report it.

Again, these third party tools and bots are totally not worth and can ruin everything you have worked so hard to build.

So all in all lurking is cool, but using bots to artificially lurk for you is not cool. It’s that simple. 

Why do People Lurk in Streams?

There are several reasons why people lurk in streams. Most of the time though it is because people want to see what’s going on in the streams, but don’t have money (or the desire) to donate, sub or participate in chat. Lurking, or just being present in the stream is still a great way to support a streamer.

As was touched on earlier, having more viewers in a stream helps streamers to get recognized by Twitch and others.

Average viewership is huge for streamers and so if you are consistently tuning into a stream then you are still doing the streamer a solid, even if you are not doing much.

Don’t feel like you have to donate or sub in order to support the stream. Your presence is enough and is appreciated by those whom you support.

A lot of people are like me too. They like having background noise going while they work on things and some of these streamers can be pretty entertaining so why not. 

I know for me it makes the tasks I have to complete more enjoyable when I am able to take short breaks here and there to see a streamer kick some tail in a game I like. I know I am not the only one either!

If you are a streamer and want to know how to add a !lurk command to your stream then check out my article here.

As always, if you have any questions or just want to hang with me, stop by my Twitch channel here and say what’s up!

For even more streaming tips and how-to content check out my Youtube channel here. And if you want to check out my streams then stop by my Twitch channel here.

In the end it is totally fine to sit in a stream without engaging. There are legal ways to lurk in multiple streams, but using bots to artificially increase viewers and followers is never ok. I hope this article was helpful. Lurk on my friends! 


👋 Hey There, I'm Eric!

Since 2018, I've been making streams come true.

I like gaming, streaming and watching other people stream. I created this website to help streamers, viewers, and gamers answer questions they have regarding live streaming, gaming, and PCs. I am a Twitch affiliate and currently stream on Twitch 3 days a week. I also have a Youtube channel where I make videos about streaming. I hope you find my content helpful. Feel free to stop by one of my streams to say hi.