Twitch streamers host a fundraiser for Palestinians.

LOS ANGELES — On Thursday afternoon, dozens of top content creators gathered at a sprawling sun filled studio for a day-long live stream aimed at raising money for relief efforts in Gaza. The content creators, who ranged from A-list YouTube stars, to Gen Z TikTokers, to first generation internet personalities, held a Top Chef-style competition, played charades, did improv with costumes and auctioned off goods. By the end of the day, they’d raised more than $1.5 million.

With mainstream social platforms cracking down on political content, Amazon-owned Twitch has exploded as a hub for activism and political news coverage. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

In March, Instagram and Threads chief Adam Mosseri announced that Meta platforms would be restricting any content related to politics or social issues. YouTube has downranked political content in its efforts to steer people away from extremist figures. Left-leaning political content creators on X have seen their accounts banned or restricted since Musk’s takeover. And TikTok, as it faces an imminent ban from the U.S. government, frequently removes creators’ accounts who post about political issues if they veer into violative content.

Politics on Twitch, however, is thriving. Content creators are amassing dedicated audiences of thousands by covering up-to-the-minute political news and leveraging their communities for progressive activism. Several weeks ago, after witnessing escalating Israeli attacks in Gaza, over 100 top content creators from all platforms joined to form Creators For Palestine, an influencer collective aimed at raising money to help Palestinians.

Nikki Carreon, a Gen Z YouTuber from Orange County with over 400,000 subscribers, said that she was on X in the shower when she got the idea to launch the effort. She connected with a few other content creator friends and the effort snowballed. They wanted to make a big impact on the internet and to raise money, and Carreon had seen the success of political Twitch streamer Hasan Piker, who had done fundraisers through the platform.

“There’s a lot of people who really do want to [get involved] but aren’t exactly sure how to,” she said. “A live stream allows them to interact. Not only does it spread information, it gets to people who can donate.”

Twitch is a live-streaming platform where content creators can develop and build audiences by streaming, often for hours at a time. While it originally was popular in the gaming community, there are now creators in many different genres on the app, similar to other mainstream social platforms. Twitch streamers will interact throughout their stream constantly with a steady stream of messages in the Twitch chat.


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“Twitch has the unique capacity to create the sense of community with a shared purpose unlike any other social media,” said Piker, a top Twitch streamer who streams under the handle @hasanabi. “The interaction and constant back and forth [between the streamer and their audience] is the fundamental difference between live-streaming and anything else, which makes Twitch the perfect platform for fundraising and activism.”

Stanzi Potenza, a content creator in Los Angeles involved in planning the Creators For Palestine live stream, called Twitch “one of the better platforms for fundraising.” The platform integrates well with Tiltify, the preferred fundraising platform for young influencers. Twitch’s interactive and community-driven nature also makes people more likely to engage with fundraisers. “There’s been rapid change in terms of activism online,” Potenza said.

“Twitch is giving the microphone to your audience,” said Tyler Oakley, one of the first major YouTube stars who got his start in 2007 but now streams full time on Twitch. “I think it’s really important to be able to talk about current events and politics, and the ability for the audience to also have a voice in the conversation is important. If you make a YouTube video, sure, there’re comments but on Twitch it’s a conversation.”

Hassan Khadair, a content creator in Birmingham, Ala., who helped organize Thursday’s stream, was one of several creators who flew in from around the country for the event. He said that the situation in Gaza has marked a turning point in the content creator world, where creators who previously never spoke up about politics and stayed within their niche were becoming more comfortable being outwardly political and voicing their opinions.

“This event has genuinely brought together so many voices who otherwise wouldn’t speak up,” Khadair said. “Twitch is just a place for people to speak freely. Twitch has just been kinder and more open in that regard. There’s such a massive cast of people from so many corners of the internet. It really changed how the YouTube bubble was talking about Palestine. I think this movement will have a domino effect toward the coming election.”

. “I think this will set a precedent in terms of what it means to be a content creator,” said Frederic Chen, a makeup, fashion, entertainment and art content creator in Los Angeles with over 1.1 million subscribers on YouTube. “People want to follow creators who at least have an opinion on politics because it’s been a more essential topic for our generation. There’s a higher standard.”

Fay Kanevsky, a Gen Z content creator in Los Angeles who makes videos about disability, said that they hope audiences online can see how all of these issues and events happening in the news are intertwined. “What’s going on in Gaza is a mass disabling event,” Kanevsky said. “The pandemic is also a mass disabling event.”

Jory, a content creator in Los Angeles with over 2.5 million followers on TikTok, whom The Post is identifying only by first name for privacy reasons, said that she began streaming on Twitch about two months ago under the handle @alluringskull. She said she likes having the ability to go deeper on topics, something that’s hard to do via short form video on other apps

“Creators that are able to carve out a community on Twitch have the ability to sit and have in-depth conversations and challenge their audiences who have been fed a very individualized and hyper simplified view of what liberation looks like,” she said. “Twitch is the place to go to have conversations, TikTok is where you go to post a and think that you liberated people.”

Many creators said that the mainstream news ecosystem flip flops on political issues and rarely centers on those most affected by bad policies. “It was trendy for people to hate conservatives for being anti-maskers and now everyone’s an anti-masker,” Jory said, adding that she wants to work to put a stop to the “trendification” of news coverage.

J Aubrey, a 24-year-old Gen Z content creator with 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube, said that he has “gotten more increasingly political on my YouTube channel as time has gone on.” However, he has seen his political videos become demonetized.

Twitch, meanwhile, offers “a direct pipeline to a younger demographic, high school, college kids, who otherwise wouldn’t watch the news. They can watch their favorite streamer talk about the news and politics in a way that resonates with them.”

Rose Montoya, a trans content creator in Los Angeles with over 800,000 followers on TikTok, said that she hopes that the internet’s biggest creators can continue working together to try to affect political change, and she hopes this is not the last major collective action on Twitch.

“I hope this makes people with large platforms more comfortable speaking up about human rights across the globe and locally,” Montoya said. “I’m hoping we can continue to work together and shift focus to Congo, to Sudan, to Pakistan. I personally believe that having a platform is a responsibility.”

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