The influence of Bots and the downfall of Soundcloud Support

  • 29 August 2019
  • 0 replies
  • 220 views

Making this post as my last as I've come to the conclusion that Soundcloud is no longer a viable platform due to pathetic support. This is more of a warning to other users that are starting out without any followers and are posting their own original music.

After years upon years of using Soundcloud to find music, I finally found myself on the other side: production. After beginning to learn production, I decided to use an old account I had made to post dj mixes back in 2011 for posting music that is new, and to use my currently active account to continue to find music.

Over a few months of using this older account, I begin to post and post. Nothing is going wrong. Until one day, I get a follow from a random user. The user in question has a woman's name for a display name, has a picture of some landscape, and has only reposted one track: a 20 second clip of sound belonging to a "WASP Records".

I thought nothing of it at the time. Maybe this user was real and this company operated with actual users trying to find music. Then it continued to get worse. The most music I posted, the more follows I got. All with the same pattern: female name, landscape picture, reposted WASP track.

I began to realize this WASP Records was an account that seemed to post the same track every few hours. Users would comment on the track with their own posted music in hopes of gathering likes and clicks. The WASP Records account also seemed to change regularly in the sense that the sound that these bots were reposting was belonging to a different user via url user id. I got pissed. For over a month or two now, I had 30 followers, of which about half were bots. All with this same pattern.

So I began to report. And report. And report. And report. Bot after bot, I would report. Oh a follower with a woman's name and some landscape picture? Definitely a bot, report.

This itself went on for a few months, but it wasn't until after that I started to notice other users were commenting on this Wasp Records track something along the lines of "PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE", "STOP HAVING YOUR BOTS FOLLOW ME", etc. I began to reply to these comments, dm these users, trying to figure out what the actual hell was going on. Why was this WASP Records account able to spawn over and over so fast? Why did soundcloud allow such obvious bot creation? To the point of allowing half of my followers to be bots?

So fast forward to last week. I go to log into my account (https://soundcloud.com/destructur3d) and realize I can't. It sends me to the account creation screen. Upon trying to create an account with the email, it says the email is already in use. What gives?

So I emailed SC Support, and waited for 5 days. Only this morning did I get the following email:

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SoundCloud Trust & Safety Team (SoundCloud)
Aug 29, 11:48 CEST
Hi there,

Thanks for getting in touch. Your account has been permanently removed on the grounds of being dedicated to violating our Terms of Use which state;

(viii) You must not use the Platform to upload, post, store, transmit, display, copy, distribute, promote, make available, continue to make available or otherwise communicate to the public:
  • any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional messages, spam or any other form of solicitation.
and our Community Guidelines which state:

The following activity is not permitted:
  • Creating multiple accounts with the intention of inflating the popularity of other profiles
  • The creation, use, or promotion of:
- Bots or other automated means to perform social interactions
- Services that claim to boost a profile’s popularity such as followers, plays, likes, or reposts
- Services that sell social interactions or other forms of promotion on SoundCloud.

When an account is removed for violating these Terms, your account, tracks, followers and stats are removed from our platform and you are permanently banned from returning to SoundCloud.

We take the security of our community very seriously. We hope that you can understand that SoundCloud is a place for people to share content which respects our Terms of Use and Community Guidelines.

Best,

SoundCloud Trust & Safety Team
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Fantastic! Apparently, because I was simply commenting on the actual Bot's posted track, simply asking other users what the hell this entire thing was, I got banned as a result. And without any warning or anything?

Being a Dev myself, I know what it's like to have to support your customers and the products you've made for them. It's not easy when supporting any enterprise-wide application just because of the massive amount of users. But with a ticket system, you're able to tackle user issues on a case-by-case basic. For myself, I will usually look at a customers history. How long have they been with us? What issues in the past have they had? Etc, etc.

But my god, is this pathetic on so many levels. The work done by support is pathetic on so many levels.

The above guidelines that I appeared to have broken above could be disproven so easily just by looking at my accounts history and activity. Years old, reporting of bots AND WASP Records NUMEROUS TIMES. The comments themselves that were left on the track, which would show me attempting to communicate with other users how to block WASP Records, and why WASP Records was even a thing given Soundcloud's guidelines.

But no, they just banned me straight up. No warning. No email saying WHY. Only after 5 days did they respond with this. Pathetic Soundcloud. Simply unprofessional and pathetic. I've been with you guys for years, and this is how you deal with support tickets?

Understand what sort of precedent this makes please. I only had 30 followers. Could you imagine being an artist with thousands of followers, and all of a sudden, your account is banned (without any message pointing out so) and soundcloud support hits you back with this?

WASP Records is still a thing on Soundcloud. It will continue to be a thing. Yet, my account remains banned. Therefore, I am done with you Soundcloud. I wish you and the community well and hope for all other users of your platform to take heed of my message.

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