On March 28, The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters reported on the ambitions of Rumble, a video-sharing platform that has marketed itself as a conservative alternative to YouTube. Data from New Media Matters shows Rumble’s success is due, in part, to mainstream platforms like Facebook allowing users to share videos and promoting the alternative platform, where users can post harmful content. with impunity.
From the Times report (emphasis added):
Over the past week, as Republicans launched a misleading attack on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, deemed too soft on criminals who sexually abuse children, Red Pill News and the X22 Report released videos claiming his Supreme Court nomination by President Biden was all the evidence. anyone who needed a cabal of pedophiles to operate at the highest levels of government, a belief of QAnon adherents.
“Think about the big picture,” implored the X22 Report host, who has more than half a million Rumble subscribers, in an episode posted Wednesday. “Right now, people are being taught what pedophilia is. People listen to this, and they see exactly how these people think and how they try to normalize it. »
In one day, this episode was viewed almost 220,000 times on Rumble, which has seen explosive growth since conservatives and supporters of former President Donald J. Trump embraced it after the 2020 election. Its users and backers see it the new frontier of social media — a network built by and for them, where practically everything happens.
“There’s something very important about Rumble that I don’t think people appreciate,” said Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, the liberal media watchdog. Mr Carusone said the painstaking work that has been done to persuade Facebook, Google and Twitter to be more aggressive in monitoring false and inciting content has prevented much of it from reaching a wider audience.
“Rumble fundamentally changes this game,” he added.
In other words, content that has been moderated on mainstream platforms like Facebook can be shared on Rumble with impunity. And as Peters notes, there is a “large audience to be had” by alternative platforms like Rumble – an audience whose members have been convinced by right-wing politicians and media figures that they are being targeted and censored on Facebook. . (Media Matters and others have repeatedly denied claims that conservatives are censored.)
But these same right-wing figures have large Facebook followers and use their pages to promote alternative platforms like Rumble. For example, Fox host Dan Bongino, who owns a stake in Rumble, still promotes fake and sensational content to his nearly 5 million Facebook followers. In fact, over the past month, Bongino has posted Rumble links on Facebook more than 400 times, generating more than 5.7 million post interactions. His show’s page, Bongino Report, shared about 400 more Rumble links, earning nearly 500,000 more interactions.
According to data compiled from CrowdTangle, Facebook users shared Rumble links more than 16,000 times in the past month, collectively earning more than 11 million interactions. Four of the pages sharing these links are the official Rumble pages – Rumble, Rumble Dogs, Rumble Cats, and Rumble Babies & Kids. Other pages that frequently share Rumble links include those of right-wing personalities and media, including Charlie Kirk, Trending World by The Epoch Times, Patriot News Outlet, NTD Life, One America News Network, and Brian Kilmeade.
Facebook groups also help spread Rumble links. For example, the X22 report video mentioned in the Times article mostly spread in private pro-Trump Facebook groups, according to Media Matters findings.