Streaming platform Roku has allowed a channel dedicated to QAnon conspiracy theories to launch, even though it seemingly violates the platform’s rules and precedent that disallows this kind of content. Just weeks after the channel launched, it has been installed hundreds of thousands of times, and Roku may also be earning revenue for ads being run on the channel.
The channel, called Burrow, launched in early December and is categorized by Roku as “educational.” The channel’s logo features a rabbit jumping into a hole, seemingly referencing the phrase “going down the rabbit hole.” The channel’s slogan appears to be the QAnon-related phrase “follow the white rabbit,” and the channel calls itself “The Redpill Network” (with “Redpill” as an image instead of the word), referring to an embrace of far-right and conspiratorial beliefs.
The content featured on Burrow includes sections for videos dedicated to the false QAnon and Pizzagate conspiracy theories, along with sections for “Human Trafficking / Elite Pedophelia” and “Rituals and Satanic Cults.” The channel also includes QAnon and Pizzagate-related films such as “Fall of Cabal” and “Out of Shadows,” and it promotes content from the conspiracy theory network Infowars.
All of this content seems to violate Roku’s own rules, which prohibit content that could “incite violence, place individuals or groups in imminent harm, or are otherwise unlawful or encouraging of illegal activity,” or “contain false, irrelevant or misleading information.” Roku has also previously said that it has policies to prevent content that is “unlawful, incited illegal activities, or violates third-party rights.” Both QAnon and Pizzagate have been tied to multiple acts of violence, and government agencies have warned of potential additional violence associated with the conspiracy theories. Roku has also previously banned channels for similar content, including those dedicated to QAnon and to Infowars.
Yet Burrow has apparently been installed hundreds of thousands of times since its launch, despite Roku’s policies against such content, and it has been promoted across social media.
According to internal metrics released by the group behind the channel, Burrow has received more than 300,000 installs from Roku users. Multiple videos promoting the channel have also spread on Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok, where videos about Burrow have received millions of total views. The group’s leadership has openly bragged about the channel’s popularity, saying that it was “blowing up” and that there were “TikToks and pictures all over the internet, everybody sending everyone to Burrow.”
Notably, the conspiracy theorists behind Burrow have been trying to monetize the channel by carrying ads. They have asked followers to help get advertisers to put ads on the channel, including suggesting “any Alex Jones stuff” as one option. Among those who have responded to the ad buyer ask have included QAnon influencer Dustin Nemos, who wrote to the channel that he “would love to reinforce you.”
And ads on the platform have already started: During the ad buyer ask, the conspiracy theorists behind the channel claimed that someone had already “bought some ad space with us for a month.” The channel has also run ads asking for others to advertise on its channel. According to Roku’s policies, the platform takes a cut of revenue from video advertisements, meaning that the company may also be making money off of Burrow.
The channel’s popularity comes as Roku has repeatedly struggled to enforce its rules regarding misinformation and extremism. It has allowed multiple channels linked to QAnon on its service, and after banning Infowars, it did not initially detect a ban evasion channel that the network had set up on the platform.