As pro-Trump insurgents broke into the US Capitol today, millions were presumably watching the events on cable news networks. However, over 200,000 simultaneously watched the situation with politics streamer HasanAbi (opens in new tab) as he commented on cable news feeds on Twitch. Many thousands more watched other official and unofficial Twitch and YouTube livestreams as mobs formed in DC and around the country.
A few notches down from HasanAbi on the popular Twitch channels list, speedrunning event Awesome Games Done Quick (opens in new tab) is enjoying over 80,000 viewers, creating an odd juxtaposition—video of guys in MAGA hats invading the US House side-by-side with speedrunners racing to beat Crash Bandicoot in record time.
Though Twitch is typically used for livestreaming games, it's become a hub for real-world coverage. During the widespread protests against racial injustice last year, for example, Twitch was a popular platform for activists to livestream Black Lives Matter protests and sit-ins. One of those channels, which is also currently streaming pro-Trump insurgents storming Capitol Hill, is simply called "Woke" (opens in new tab) and is known for collating different livestreams to give viewers multiple perspectives of a given event. Currently, Woke is streaming to an audience of 64,000 viewers, while other streamers like xQc (opens in new tab) and Destiny (opens in new tab) are streaming to a combined total of about 80,000 viewers.
Hasan Piker, or HasanAbi, is a popular streamer and political commentator known for his incisive coverage of American politics on Twitch. During his stream of the US presidential debates, for example, Piker drew over 125,000 viewers, and, more recently, he played Among Us with democratic representative Alexandira Ocasio-Cortez to over 400,000 viewers. Before streaming on Twitch full-time, Piker was a journalist for The Young Turks and a columnist for Huffington Post.
The ongoing violence in DC and across the US comes following President Trump's repetition of baseless claims that the general election was "stolen"—claims that have been rejected by courts around the country—and his insistence that certification of the electoral vote should be stopped. Congress halted those proceedings, which will confirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, after the Capitol was breached. Just before the proceedings, Vice President Mike Pence publicly rejected Trump's demand that he block Biden's election.
One woman in the Capitol was shot, and according to NBC (opens in new tab), she has died, and five others have been taken to the hospital. Washington DC is under curfew as of 6 pm local time. The story is still developing.
LATEST from US Capitol:• Trump supporters storm building• Woman shot in Capitol has died; 5 taken to hospital• At least one IED found on Capitol grounds• Senators determined to stay until counting finished• DC curfew begins 6 pmLive coverage: https://t.co/sSH8cM09jqJanuary 6, 2021