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How Twitch’s most popular emote, forsenE, took over

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There’s another Forsen emote not far behind

forsenE emote

Twitch viewers have a new go-to spam emote in “forsenE.” You might have seen it speeding by in Twitch chat thousands of times, thanks to a tireless campaign to push the face of a popular streamer to the top of Twitch’s most-used emotes list.

ForsenE is currently the most used emote on Twitch, according to StreamElements, which tracks usage on Twitch chat. StreamElements has monitored more than 8 billion messages in Twitch since it started, in its own words, “recording dank memes from Twitch Chat” in January 2016. To date, forsenE has been used in chat more than 360 million times.

Twitch viewers have pushed forsenE to the top of the charts, surpassing “Kappa” and “TriHard,” two of Twitch’s most popular emotes. To understand how forsenE became so popular — and something of a nuisance to other streamers — it’s important to understand the community around one of Twitch’s most notable streamers, Forsen, whose real name is Sebastian Fors.

A dedicated group of viewers who help create some of the internet’s most popular and controversial memes, Forsen’s fanbase dedicates itself to spamming other channels and causing a ruckus on Twitch. Spamming campaigns are organized on Reddit and Twitch chat, all in the name of trolling and their favorite Twitch streamer, Forsen.

Who is Forsen?

Forsen isn’t a new face to Twitch or the wider internet. The Swedish gamer first gained notoriety in 2012, making it to the finals of the DreamHack Stockholm StarCraft 2 tournament that year. Forsen later moved away from StarCraft 2, focusing his attention on Hearthstone and other popular games, including PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

Forsen gained even more notoriety for being a victim of stream sniping — where viewers who watch a streamer on Twitch find their location in-game and go after them — while playing PUBG. During one of Forsen’s PUBG streams, he’s seen watching Who Killed Captain Alex?, the movie that helped inspire the current Ugandan Knuckles meme. Although the meme was birthed from a variety of contributors, Forsen’s fans are credited with spreading it on Twitch before it became popular in VRChat and took over the internet.

This is what Forsen’s followers do best. If they deem something meme-worthy, nothing can stop them from spreading it around Twitch — and subsequently, the rest of the internet. ForsenE, seen below, is a perfect example of that mentality at play.

forsenE emote
The forsenE emote.
Forsen/Twitch

The image is a warped version of Forsen’s face, and on Jan. 24, it became the most-used emote on Twitch worldwide, blowing past TriHard and Kappa. Forsen’s community celebrated the victory, ensuring it remained in the top spot by spamming other channels, including League of Legendsmost notorious caster, Tyler1. Tyler1’s chat was so inundated with spammed versions of forsenE that he banned the use of the emote in his chat (although there are reports that the emote could still show up if it was at the end of a message rather than just used by itself).

Tyler1 addresses the nuisance of Forsen’s community spamming the emote in the clip below.

“You idiots came in here, and after I asked you to stop nicely, that hive ... that swarm of animals you guys are ... eight-lined one-second spam,” Tyler1 says. “100 times in a row. I said, ‘Please stop.’ Five minutes later, ‘Stop, or you’re going to get permabanned.’ It’s like you guys multiplied after I permabanned you, so it got blacklisted.

“No hard feelings, of course.”

Most Twitch casters understand that Forsen’s audience is harmlessly annoying, but according to Twitch’s terms of service, their activities could result in a suspension.

It’s all about spamming

Forsen’s community achieves its goals by spamming other channels on Twitch, and only on Twitch. The community has a set of long-standing rules to prevent spamming from happening off-platform. When viewers first join Forsen’s Discord server, they’re reminded that any spamming done in Discord could result in them being kicked from the server.

rules of Forsen’s Discord server
Rules for engaging in the Forsen Discord server.
Forsen/Discord

Most of the spamming campaigns are concocted in Forsen’s Twitch chat or on Reddit, where fans list channels where the emote will be spread. Again, the intent isn’t usually malicious, but it causes a disturbance and brings attention to the forsenE emote. Forsen’s community isn’t the first group to understand just how crucial spamming is to the success of a campaign, but the group’s reach is surprising. Twitch viewers have pointed out how impressive it is that Forsen’s community can out-spam channels with five times as many followers.

“Isn’t that surprising when his chat once beat Ice Poseidon’s [a popular IRL streamer who was banned from Twitch in 2017 and made a move over to YouTube and Live.Me] TriHard spam record back when he streamed on twitch,” one viewer noted. “That emote made Ice but still Forsen’s chat is by far the biggest spammer community ever.”

Spamming campaigns have worked in the past and continue to do so today. The newest Forsen emote — forsenBoys — is currently the second most-used emote on Twitch chat, surpassing Kappa, TriHard and greekBrow, an emote that belongs to another popular Twitch streamer, GreekGodX. Fans keep track on Reddit of which emotes are gaining traction, and adjust their strategy accordingly to ensure Forsen’s emotes stay at the very top.

Forsen subreddit - list of top Twitch emotes
Forsen’s subreddit follows the top emotes on Twitch.
Forsen/Reddit

Although most casters aren’t too concerned with viewers flooding certain emotes in chat, Twitch’s terms of service tell a different story. The company’s rules state that “any content or activity that disrupts, interrupts, harms, or otherwise violates the integrity of Twitch services or another user’s experience or devices is prohibited.” This includes “posting large amounts of repetitive, unwanted messages or user reports.”

That means that if Twitch streamers did get frustrated with the spamming sessions, Twitch could take action against the community. The secondary issue, of course, is how Twitch handles a community of Forsen’s size, and if it’s even possible for the company to take action against a campaign rather than a few pesky users. Polygon has reached out to Twitch for more information.

For now, Forsen’s fans are focused on keeping forsenE and forsenBoys at the top of the global emote list. Two other Forsen-related emotes, “LUL” and “forsenT,” are also currently in StreamElements’ top 20 Twitch emote list, so unless the company cracks down on Forsen-loving spammers, we’re going to be seeing his face a lot for the foreseeable future.

Update: A Twitch representative told Polygon that streamers receiving unwanted spam “can report the spammer using the Report button on the spammer’s channel page, they can ban or time them out, and they can block specific spam messages from appearing in chat.”