Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Streams On Twitch With Hasan Piker And Pokimane, Draws Over 430,000 Viewers

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Streams On Twitch With Hasan Piker And Pokimane, Draws Over 430,000 Viewers
Image: Twitch

It began yesterday with a simple question: “Anyone want to play Among Us with me on Twitch to get out the vote?” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked on Twitter, and nearly every even vaguely left-leaning streamer on Twitch answered. Mere hours later, AOC had a verified Twitch channel with hundreds of thousands of followers. Now she’s streaming with some of Twitch’s biggest stars, resulting in a raucous audience that topped out at around 439,000 concurrent viewers on her channel alone.

AOC is streaming Among Us, Twitch’s out-of-nowhere sci-fi deception mega-hit, alongside fellow representative Ilhan Omar, as well as online personalities Hasan Piker, Pokimane, Dr Lupo, Disguised Toast, Moistcr1tikal, Myth, Mxmtoon, and Jacksepticeye. Between their own channels, they added another 200,000+ concurrent viewers to the series of Among Us games, bringing the full total up to over 600,000 concurrent viewers. AOC’s 439,000 alone, though, means that she now holds the record for third-most concurrent viewers on an individual streamer’s channel in Twitch history.

AOC began the stream by saying she was “super nervous,” but quickly found her rhythm, laughing and joking with everybody else. After Omar had some technical issues, the group began playing Among Us.

“I really don’t want to be impostor. Please don’t let me be impostor,” AOC said.

The game immediately made her one of the impostors, at which point AOC said “Noooooooooo.” She did well, however, even if it pained her.

“I can’t kill Poki,” she said as she crept up behind Pokimane. “She’s so nice.” Upon killing Pokimane, AOC gasped loudly at the horror she had wrought.

Eventually, the streamers caught on to AOC’s innocent act, but she still managed to convince Omar not to vote her out the airlock. “Are you really gonna do this to me, Ilhan?” she asked, declaring Omar her “ride or die” after she replied “No.”

In chat, viewers largely reacted to AOC’s actions in the game, though some made harassing and violent comments, which were quickly moderated out of existence, while others dropped mentions of Trump, “Maga,” or how the US will “never be a socialist country,” which were evidently allowed — much to some viewers’ chagrin. This led to a back and forth between some viewers, who spoke out in favour of AOC, Biden, and Trump fans getting “better hobbies.” All the while, a chat bot periodically implored people to vote. AOC, however, did not lock eyes with the camera and talk about how only voting can change the world or anything like that. She just played the game, though she did at one point join in on a group joke about how “Orange is sus,” referring to one of Among Us’ in-game avatars and, of course, Donald Trump. As of now, AOC is still streaming.

The 24-hour lead up to this stream was frenzied. Yesterday, AOC didn’t even have a Twitch channel. She had appeared on Twitch before as part of Harry “Hbomberguy” Brewis’ 2019 stream in support of trans rights, but never on her own channel, nor to play games. But as soon as she expressed interest yesterday, mobilisation was startlingly rapid. Big names like Hasan Piker and Pokimane, who featured in today’s stream, immediately volunteered to help. So did a truly enormous number of other Twitch stars. Twitch itself immediately got involved, as evidenced by the fact that AOC’s channel is verified and named, well, “AOC.” (Twitch no longer allows normal users to create three-letter account names. These, according to three sources speaking to Kotaku on the condition of anonymity, have to be repossessed from old inactive users or created by Twitch admins.) Shortly after, fellow rep Ilhan Omar’s team also began exploring the idea of streaming on Twitch.

What followed, according to sources, was an effort on the part of AOC’s team to procure necessary streaming equipment and figure out how an AOC Twitch channel would even function. Who would she play with? How would her team approach the tall task of moderating her chat, an element of Twitch that can get extremely rowdy in its best moments and downright racist and sexist in its worst? The latter, especially, was an important question, one that, streamer and activist Jordan Uhl told Kotaku in a DM, led both AOC and Omar’s teams to consult “with top streamers and other experts in the community to quickly adopt best practices while respecting the guidelines they must abide by under the First Amendment.” (Kotaku reached out to AOC’s team for more information but, as of this publishing, did not receive a response.)

They could not simply follow in the footsteps of other politicians who’ve streamed on Twitch, like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. What AOC aimed to do was fundamentally different. Sanders and Trump have effectively stranded themselves on their own little islands, rebroadcasting rallies and panels and treating Twitch as an extension of preexisting campaign efforts. Twitch, however, is a community platform, one built on personalities and chat interaction. Put another way, there’s a reason why Piker is far and away the biggest leftist on Twitch — not internationally famous politician Bernie Sanders. From the get go, Piker collaborated with preexisting Twitch stars while injecting his own flavour into the proceedings.

AOC, unlike literally every other politician and extension of the U.S. government, evidently recognised that, putting out a call to streamers and industry experts rather than trying to reverse-engineer another slick, tediously sanitised streaming operation. This meant that she immediately had a gargantuan audience of people who actually wanted to watch her stream. But she still couldn’t just behave like any other streamer. She is a government representative, which means that wantonly blocking rowdy chat users could constitute a First Amendment violation. To wit: In 2019, AOC ended up settling a lawsuit filed by Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who accused her of violating the First Amendment by blocking him on Twitter.

More recently, AOC sought to prevent the U.S. military from funding recruitment efforts on Twitch, something legal organisations like the ACLU and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University (though notably not AOC) argued against by saying that the Army and Navy violated the First Amendment by banning viewers who asked critical questions about war crimes. This forced the Army and Navy to publicly publish revised rules that included strict procedures around timing out and banning users, and even then, only when viewers engage in harassing behaviour — not questions or criticism. AOC’s measure ultimately did not succeed, but she still inextricably became part of that discussion.

AOC’s team, then, ended up yesterday rushing to consult with experts and put together a moderation team with the knowledge and savvy to navigate these extremely choppy waters, with that team formulating detailed rules of their own. Originally, it seemed like AOC was going to go live for the first time last night, but in a particularly relatable moment for anybody who’s ever tried their hand at streaming, getting set up took a very long time. After viewers and mods waited in chat for a few hours, AOC eventually tweeted that she “spent tonight setting up accounts, mods, streaming & run throughs” and she was “hoping to go live tomorrow night.”

All of which culminated in tonight’s stream, which, as of now, remains ongoing.

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Comments

  • AOC is literallythe imposter in American Politics. Read the wording of her green new deal. Doesn’t talk about equality, but equity. There’s a massive difference between the two. She’s essentially for communism for non-whites and removing rights for whites as a gross form of payback. Dangerous player

    • BAHAHA I love satire. Oh wait, you are serious?! Either way, cheers for the unintentional laugh. At least if both of you were in a room together I know which one would be capable of concisely of putting a constructive ‘argument’ forward, outlining an interesting IDEA for the future.

      That is what the green new deal is, it is a talking point, a statement of an IDEAL intent. Of course it sometimes pushes too hard into fantasy, some of the most powerful theoretical revolutions in the history of world came from such flights of fancy.

    • I’ve read through her green new deal, I did not see any mention of removing the rights of white Americans.

      While you and I might disagree with her to different extents, She was democratically elected by her constituents. She has just as much of a right to her position as any other US politician.

      Read through her deal, Argue on things that actually exist in the deal.

    • the green new deal is not ”anti white” its goal is to combat climate change by investing into renewable energy, carbon capture, etc. which would create millions of jobs, it’s also not remotely about communism as its not calling for an end to class, money, or pushing for collective ownership, the only other thing in the green new deal is calling for free college, and universal healthcare which isn’t communism, its social democracy, the entire thing is just about combating climate change, in case you don’t know climate change doesn’t care about your ethnicity, it will effect every human being on this planet.

    • So, I’m pretty annoyed by anti-white bullshit myself… That old drum of being told I’m not ‘allowed’ to have an opinion and people assuming I’m racist because I’m white, yeah, I can get how it can be kind of grating.

      But man, you’ve gone to a whole other level here.

      You are completely delusional if you think ANYTHING any politician put forth in the US would get through if it ever included anything that even hinted at being anti-white.

      • I suppose one could make arguments for things such as “affirmative action” and enforced “racial quotas” can be seen as “anti-white” in that the key criteria needed to eligible, is to be “non-white”.

        Example: an under, or less, qualified BIPOC getting a position over a properly, or more qualified white person, due to needing to meet the “diversity” quota.

        In practice though, how often that may actually happen (because I doubt there would be accurate reporting of such phenomena) I don’t know, or care to know tbh.

        But I can definitely see how such things can be seen as such

    • There it is folks. Oct 21, 2020 @ 4.59pm-
      The dumbest comment to ever grace Kotaku au’s comment section ever (well, so far at least). It’s breathtakingly clueless muckraking at it’s worst. Did you aim for that lofty achievement or is that just sheer, off-the-cuff, grass fed, free range, natural stupidity? Either way, congrats on bravely charging forward without a single nanospeck of sense. I actually want to print and frame this so whenever I’m down on myself I can look to this and think “Well at least I didn’t say something like that!”

  • I watched most of the stream, and it was a lot of fun! I was really hoping that through a bit of first player luck the congresswomen would win as the imposters, but AOC was still getting over first time hang ups about being mean to her friends. And a bunch of people commenting on Twitter about how the congresswomen should be spending their time better, but I doubt any of them would comment on the amount of golf that Trump plays (way more than Obama did), probably because that’s an ‘acceptable’ pastime for a politician to have.
    I didn’t know any of the ramifications of blocking people in the Twitch chat, so that was very interesting to learn about. I clicked on this article expecting for you to just talk about the stream, but you provided some insightful information. Thanks!

  • Most of the criticism levelled at her is based on her being a women and not white.
    Veil it however you want but it’s there.
    The right love to call anyone with progressive views ‘communists’ – you’d think they’d have a better argument by now. They only want policies which benefit their white privilege. Fuck the environment, fuck public health, right?

    • “The right love to call anyone with progressive views ‘communists’”

      About as much as the left love to call anyone with conservative views any form of -ist/-phobic.

      Which you literally just did. You can give examples, I can give examples. Only dif is, I can give examples of the left being many forms of -ist/-phobic also, while claiming at the same time not being, but I don’t think you’ll find any conservatives calling people “communists”, while being “communists”

      *Shrug*

      But that’s not allowed here.

      TL;DR looks like a case of the pot calling the kettle black methinks.

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