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By Sarah E. Needleman
President Trump has created a channel on Amazon.com Inc.'s Twitch, a sign he plans to use the live-streaming platform to promote his 2020 re-election campaign.
A spokeswoman for Twitch, a platform popular among videogame players, confirmed Thursday the channel belonged to Mr. Trump, though it couldn't be immediately determined when the page was launched.
The president is hosting a campaign rally in Minneapolis Thursday night. The streaming of the Minneapolis event will apparently be the campaign's first public use of the channel.
The move comes after Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also created a Twitch channel in June. Mr. Sanders has streamed videos of campaign rallies and other content on his channel, which has about 88,700 followers.
Politicians are increasingly turning to social-media platforms as a way to more closely tailor messages to prospective voters and younger audiences.
A representative from Mr. Trump's re-election campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Politicians aren't allowed to buy or sell advertising on Twitch, a company spokeswoman said. They can, however, direct viewers to make donations elsewhere, such as through PayPal.
An average of 1.3 million people are on Twitch at any given moment and the platform sees more than 15 million daily visitors, the company said. Most people come to Twitch to watch other people play videogames and participate in esports competitions.
Though Mr. Trump launched a channel on the gaming-centric site, he has previously criticized violent videogames as helping fuel some of the mass shootings that have occurred in the U.S. in recent years. Last year, he held a meeting at the White House after the massacre of 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Fla., to discuss the matter with members of the videogame industry and groups opposed to violent games.
The channel debut also comes as Twitch is facing scrutiny after earlier this week a shooting suspect live streamed the killing of two people outside a synagogue in Germany, adding Amazon to the list of tech giants that have had to tackle violent acts being broadcast online in real time.
Amazon's peers -- Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Alphabet Inc., which owns Google's YouTube -- most recently dealt with stopping the spread of footage from a deadly attack on a pair of New Zealand mosques earlier this year.
Amazon bought Twitch for around $970 million in 2014 and it doesn't break out revenue for Twitch in financial reports. Twitch is free for users and generates revenue mainly from selling advertising.
Amazon's chief executive is Jeff Bezos, whom Mr. Trump has repeatedly criticized over taxes, the company's use of the U.S. Postal Service and its effect on other retailers. Mr. Trump also called the Washington Post, which Mr. Bezos owns personally, a lobbying arm.
Write to Sarah E. Needleman at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 10, 2019 20:24 ET (00:24 GMT)
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