Wednesday’s insurrection in the US Capitol wasn’t just broadcast by journalists and bystanders with smartphones; it was broadcast by its own perpetrators.
Mainstream platforms like Facebook cracked down on videos glorifying the attack, fueled in part by the bogus claim that the presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. Lesser-known platforms that have supported extremists and conspiracy theorists for years were also activated by the insurrection. Among them is a blockchain-based livestreaming site called DLive, which hosted multiple streams from the Capitol on Wednesday and allowed viewers to donate directly to the streamers as they broadcast their actions and misinformation.
Channels with hundreds of viewers went live on Wednesday with titles like “March to Save America,” and “Time to Take Our Country Back.” More than 140,000 DLive viewers watched streams about the events at the Capitol, many condoning or encouraging the mob there. At least one person streamed after breaking into the Capitol itself as donations flooded in.
DLive was founded by entrepreneur Charles Wayn in 2017 as a lower-scale competitor to Amazon’s Twitch. The platform broke into the mainstream when YouTube’s top gaming celebrity, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg, streamed there exclusively for a brief period starting in 2019. Since then the site has kept growing, from the 4,322nd-ranked site according to Alexa in October to 3,273rd today.
A major contributor to DLive’s growth has been the white nationalist leaders and other far-right personalities who fled there after