Mainstream journalists fail to mention that Rumble is rife with extremism that other platforms ban
Mainstream outlets have failed to adequately describe Rumble in recent reporting on the right-wing video-sharing platform, omitting the extent to which it is dominated by extreme, false, and bigoted content.
On May 15, Rumble announced that it had acquired Callin, a podcasting and livestreaming platform, and that its co-founder David Sacks — a right-wing billionaire tech investor and political operative — would be given a seat on Rumble’s board of directors. Rumble touted a May 20 write-up on the acquisition from Axios, which described the platform as “the self-styled ‘free expression’ video streaming service” and failed to mention that it’s dominated by harmful content, despite having described Rumble as “a target for users looking to post misinformation” in previous reporting.
Axios is not the only mainstream outlet that has failed to adequately contextualize Rumble in reporting. After former Fox host Tucker Carlson announced that he would be moving his show to Twitter and Rumble’s stock declined from the news, Bloomberg described Rumble as “a right-wing alternative to YouTube,” reiterating the platform’s claims that it creates technologies that are “immune to cancel culture” and propping it up as “a competitor to social-media firms like Twitter and Facebook.”
Several mainstream outlets also failed to mention the prevalence of extremist content on Rumble after Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced on April 12 that Rumble would host an exclusive livestream of the first GOP primary debate of the 2024 presidential election. During the announcement, McDaniel emphasized that the RNC is “getting away from Big Tech” — a nod to a repeatedly debunked talking point from conservatives that they are unfairly censored on mainstream platforms — which both Reuters and Forbes repeated without pushback. Additionally, Reuters simply described Rumble as “an online video platform,” and Forbes called it “the video hosting platform that is popular among conservatives.” Forbes also quoted a statement released by Rumble in which McDaniel further pushed false claims about conservatives being silenced by other platforms. In another article about the announcement, Politico described Rumble as a “conservative streaming platform.”
By inadequately covering Rumble’s extremist content, mainstream outlets are allowing Rumble to whitewash the platform and minimize its harms. Rumble has tried to brand itself as a “neutral platform” that “isn’t about forcing ideologies down your throat” but rather “empower[s] adults to decide what to say and hear” and uses “free speech to bring people together.”
Going forward, it is imperative that journalists accurately characterize Rumble as a platform that proudly sponsors extreme, false, and bigoted right-wing content.
Here is a sample of Rumble’s extremism that adequately contextualizes the platform:
- Content related to the dangerous QAnon conspiracy theory is rampant on Rumble. Rumble does not have any policies explicitly prohibiting QAnon content — in fact, the platform and its partners have courted, praised, and repeatedly promoted QAnon figures and supporters. Meta, by contrast, prohibits QAnon content, and TikTok and Spotify have indicated that it violates disinformation or violent content policies, while YouTube says it has removed “a lot of” QAnon content.
Media Matters found that videos from QAnon channels, or channels that feature shows or figures who have historically and openly promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory, appeared on Rumble’s leaderboard of the 50 most-liked videos from the previous 24 hours every day between February 1 and April 30 — a total of 603 times. Notably, nearly half of the three most-liked Rumble videos each day during the time frame studied were from QAnon-supporting or QAnon-adjacent channels. Much of this content is monetized.
- Rumble has profited from ads on harmful content, including ones next to videos espousing Holocaust denial and videos from white nationalists. In March, Media Matters reported that Rumble was running ads next to videos espousing Holocaust denial. Prior to that reporting, we also found ads that ran before videos from various streamers, podcasters, and right-wing figures who have espoused white nationalist or extremist rhetoric, including antisemite Nick Fuentes, white nationalists Jared Taylor, Baked Alaska, and Stew Peters, and right-wing extremists Alex Jones and Steve Bannon.
- Rumble has welcomed misogynist and bigoted creators who were banned from other mainstream platforms. Far-right misogynist Andrew Tate joined Rumble after being banned from multiple mainstream platforms for violating various policies, including policies against hate speech. After Tate joined Rumble, the platform heavily promoted his presence, and his videos have repeatedly appeared on the platform’s leaderboard of most-liked videos. Tate acolyte Sneako, who similarly push misogynistic and bigoted rhetoric, also turned to Rumble after being deplatformed elsewhere.
- Rumble can be a bridge from prank videos and popular gaming streamers to extremism. The platform has been deliberately trying to court particular audiences, including younger audiences, with “Rumble Exclusives” creators — who are contracted to produce exclusive content either on Rumble itself or on its paid subscription service. These creators include gamers and prank channels that feature questionable antics, as well as a dangerous array of bigoted pundits and conspiracy theorists, such as Dan Bongino, Donald Trump Jr., Kim Iversen, and Right Side Broadcasting Network.
In one instance of a user being led to harmful content, Truth Social CEO Devin Nunes admitted to the host of a QAnon show that he became familiar with the program because when he started using Rumble, he was fed videos of the show and “every once in a while” would “click on and watch it” because there were “so many people that were watching.”
Right-wing figures who produce exclusive content for Rumble, including podcasters Steven Crowder and Russell Brand, have also told their YouTube audiences to go to Rumble for more incendiary content, including dangerous medical misinformation.
- Rumble is a hotbed of election and vaccine misinformation. During the 2022 midterm election cycle, right-wing figures utilized Rumble to spread conspiracy theories and misinformation about the electoral process in the lead-up to the vote, during Election Day livestreams, and in post-election coverage. Following former President Donald Trump’s indictment, Rumble promoted videos from right-wing pundits and QAnon figures pushing civil war rhetoric on its leaderboard. In addition to election misinformation, Rumble Exclusives creator Russell Brand has featured dangerous right-wing figures and conspiracy theories on his daily livestream, as well as repeatedly peddling COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, even though Rumble claimed that he would offer an “inclusive and progressive” perspective.