is a video-sharing platform that allows users to upload and share videos. Rumble was founded in 2013 by Chris Pavlovski, a Canadian tech entrepreneur who’d previously started an outsourcing company in North Macedonia. Prior to 2020, Rumble was not known as a place that published politically biased videos. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic and the American presidential election, many right-wing pundits joined the service leading to incredible growth by right biased and pro-Trump supporters. This platform is now host for a plethora of conspiracy and political disinformation video.
Rumble lacks transparency as they do not clearly disclose ownership, however, they are owned by Rumble, Inc based in Toronto, Canada. Conservative Pundit Dan Bongino bought an equity stake in the company in 2020. . . Rumble is a video upload and streaming service that feature a wide range of videos. However, over the course of 2020, the video service began featuring more and more right biased content. Some of their featured video channels include author Dinesh D’Souza, Charlie Kirk, OANN, Sean Hannity, Newsmax, and of course Dan Bongino. While many of the videos featured are non-political such as cute animal videos, the majority of news videos are far-right biased and some from conspiracy sources such as X22 Reports and Steve Bannon’s War Room.
The migration of conspiracy and far-right commentators and politicians to rumble has occurred over time:
Rumble is one of several upstart social media platforms that pro-Trump users are flocking to, in part because they offer a more hospitable alternative reality. For years now, some conservative pundits have called on their supporters to decamp from mainstream social networks to newer websites with looser moderation standards. None of the options has taken off—except, sometimes, with far-right trolls and neo-Nazis. . . . Rumble, an alternative to YouTube, has been seeing similar gains from the election. Rumble is certainly a small fish compared with the Google-owned video platform and its 2 billion users, but Fortune reports that the site currently has 80 million users, up from 40 million in August. Perhaps more revealingly, streaming on Rumble, as measured by bandwidth use, has increased 26-fold in that timespan. . . By the end of November, though, YouTube had temporarily suspended and demonetized OANN after it promoted phony COVID-19 cures. This was a bridge too far for OANN, which ultimately migrated to Rumble. (YouTube also announced this past Wednesday, a day after the safe-harbor deadline for Congress to officially recognize votes from states’ chosen electors, that it would start removing any content that “misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.”)
growth has been propelled by far-right agitators who have a political agenda to promote:
. . . At the center of Rumble’s growth is Dan Bongino, an author and one of Fox News’ die-hard pro-Trump contributors, who partly made the switch to Rumble because YouTube had been demonetizing his videos. Bongino purchased stakes in both Parler and Rumble several months before the election and has been urging his fans to join the two sites. A quick survey comparing Bongino’s YouTube videos and his Rumble videos, however, suggests that there isn’t a whole lot of difference between what he posts on the two platforms. However, he has a few thousand more subscribers on Rumble, and many of his videos there attract more viewers than they do on YouTube. The same is true for D’Souza and the Federalist.
In terms of the user experience, Rumble is basically the same as YouTube and other major video-sharing platforms. In terms of moderation, though, Rumble is certainly more permissive with fallacious videos. Simply searching “vaccine” or “vaccine autism” surfaces numerous examples of videos pushing anti-vaccine misinformation about the new coronavirus vaccines. Searching “stop the steal,” a popular slogan among Trump’s supporters who advance the false theory that voter fraud affected the outcome of the election, also turns up numerous videos with spurious claims of manipulated voting machines and “deep state” interference. Content promoting QAnon, the conspiracy theory that pedophiles control the Democratic Party and other major institutions, also seems to do well on Rumble; YouTube cracked down on QAnon in October.
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