Online media personality Hasan Piker is spending his days directly influencing more than a million teenagers and 20-somethings on issues such as “the climate crisis and wealth disparity and advocating for ‘Medicare for All,’ LGBTQ rights, gun control, alternatives to capitalism, and other progressive policy-reform ideas,” according to Business Insider. And he is much more of a threat to shaping the minds of new voters than the old “liberal college professor” scapegoat.
Piker has tremendous influence among young Americans, with 1.5 million subscribers on Twitch, a video streaming platform, and nearly 900,000 followers on Twitter. He has previously worked for HuffPost and The Young Turks and has “vaulted from working as a miniseries host on a liberal talk show to having a fan base of teens and 20-somethings,” Business Insider reported. On YouTube, he has more than 127 million video views. His stream on election night in November “lasted over 16 hours and had 225,000 concurrent viewers at its peak, [and] was the sixth most-watched election stream on the internet, behind only major news networks.”
But unlike CNN and MSNBC, the bulk of Piker’s viewers are young and impressionable. The media they consume exists outside the echo chambers of traditional partisan media and the subsequent scrutiny those outlets receive. His reach is only increasing – in the last 30 days alone, he has picked up 80,000 more Twitch followers and 48,000 more YouTube subscribers, according to SocialBlade.
“I think all I’m doing is helping people recognize why they feel angry, jaded — why they feel like they have a shittier hand dealt to them than the prior generation,” Piker, whom Business Insider calls “an ardent critic of former President Donald Trump,” said in an interview with the outlet. He is using Democratic Party darlings to further his reach, too. He hosted Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) in October for a stream of the video game Among Us. The stream was the third-most-viewed broadcast in the platform’s history, with more than 400,000 concurrent views. He began streaming specifically to harness this influence.
“I always had an interest in targeting and motivating young and, in a lot of instances, white men on the internet — not motivating, rather introducing them into left-wing politics,” he said.
“I wanted to show them that leftist politics are actually cool and the portrayals that you see on the internet by these reactionary essayists on YouTube … who are obsessed with left-wing politics and vilifying leftists on the internet, were completely wrong.” To do so, he has published countless hit pieces on
Accuracy in Media has long been keeping tabs on outlets capitalizing on impressionable young people – like Teen Vogue surveying its young readers on their parents’ right-wing views and denouncing entrepreneurship.