In a new study, Media Matters analyzed Rumble’s “Battle Leaderboard Top 50” — a prominently displayed ranking of the 50 most-liked videos from the previous 24 hours — once per day from February 1, 2023, through July 31, 2023. The overwhelming majority (nearly 95%) belong to right-wing or conspiracy theorist channels.
Key findings include:
- 57% of all videos on the leaderboard were from right-wing media outlets, personalities, and politicians
- 37% of all videos on the leaderboard were from channels that amplify right-wing conspiracy theories, including the QAnon conspiracy theory
- 13% of all videos on the leaderboard were from “Rumble Exclusives” creators
- Videos from QAnon channels appeared more frequently on the leaderboard than videos from Rumble Exclusives creators, with at least 1,655 videos (18%) and at least 1,198 videos (13%) from QAnon channels and exclusive creators, respectively
- Additionally, multiple videos from QAnon channels appeared on the leaderboard every day during the time frame studied
- While only 3% of videos on the leaderboard were from channels associated with the “manosphere” — a far-right online community that pushes outdated, extremist gender politics repackaged for the internet age — videos from these channels have appeared more frequently in recent months, increasing from just 27 appearances in February to 94 in July
- 7 of the 10 videos with the most likes that appeared on the leaderboard were from QAnon channels
The Republican National Committee has chosen Rumble to be its exclusive streaming partner for the first two presidential primary debates
On April 12, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced on Fox & Friends that Fox News would be hosting the first GOP primary debate of the 2024 presidential election, while the debate will also be exclusively livestreamed on Rumble because the RNC is “getting away from Big Tech.” On August 9, McDaniel tweeted that the second primary debate will also be in partnership with Rumble. The platform reportedly will feature the debate on its home page and “make the stream available for viewers around the world on the RNC’s Rumble channel.”
Rumble is an extreme right-wing video-sharing platform that markets itself as a defender of “free speech” in supposed contrast to other social media sites (even though partisan claims of censorship by Big Tech companies are false). The company has big ambitions to compete with a range of other tech companies and to be “immune” to so-called “cancel culture.”
Rumble is also reportedly backed by various high-profile right-wing figures, including biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, who will be one of the candidates on the GOP presidential primary debate stage on August 23.
The site serves as a dumping ground for right-wing fearmongering, falsehoods, and bigotry — despite its policies against “racism, anti-semitism and hatred” and content that “promotes, supports, or incites violence.” Media Matters has repeatedly demonstrated the plethora of right-wing misinformation and hate on the platform: For instance, in May, we found that videos from QAnon-supporting channels appeared on Rumble’s leaderboard every day between February 1 and April 30 — a total of 603 times.
Our latest study, which analyzed Rumble’s “Battle Leaderboard Top 50” once per day from February 1 to July 31, shows that this trend has continued, with right-wing and conspiracy theorist channels overrunning the platform, even as Rumble tries to present itself as a diverse platform with its cadre of “Rumble Exclusives” creators paid to produce content exclusively for the platform.
Videos from right-wing media outlets, personalities, and politicians earned hundreds of millions of views
Right-wing media outlets, personalities, and politicians accounted for 57% of all videos we identified on the leaderboard, earning over 330 million views and at least 9.8 million likes.
- Videos from right-wing streaming network LFA TV appeared on the leaderboard at least 545 times, earning more than 10 million views and at least 929,000 likes. LFA TV has produced Rumble videos that are saturated with religious rhetoric and fearmonger about war, such as predicting violence in several instances and claiming that we are already in a “holy civil war” in at least one instance.
- Videos from Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast appeared on the leaderboard at least 533 times, earning over 13.7 million views and more than 381,000 likes. In a video that streamed on Rumble during the 2022 midterm elections, Bannon called armed, camouflaged extremists staking out ballot drop boxes in Arizona “concerned Americans that understand there was a lot of problems in 2020."
Videos from the channels of right-wing politicians, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and former President Donald Trump, have appeared on the leaderboard dozens of times. Trump has used his Rumble channel to livestream his rallies, as well as to post campaign videos and clips, including one video in which he appeared to use a song named after the slogan for the QAnon conspiracy theory. His videos appeared on the leaderboard at least 31 times and earned over 5.6 million views and over 195,000 likes.
Multiple videos from QAnon-promoting channels were on the leaderboard every day of the study
Videos from channels that amplify right-wing conspiracy theories — such as QAnon and other anti-establishment, anti-vaccine, and COVID-19 conspiracy theories — accounted for 37% of all videos we identified on the leaderboard.
Notably, multiple videos from channels that frequently amplify the QAnon conspiracy theory appeared on the leaderboard every day during the time frame studied. These videos accounted for 18% of videos on the leaderboard overall, earning over 111 million views and over 5 million likes. Videos from channels that frequently amplify other right-wing conspiracy theories earned at least an additional 92 million views and 3.5 million likes.
- Videos from QAnon-affiliated Badlands Media appeared on the leaderboard at least 312 times, earning more than 20.1 million views and over 790,000 likes. Badlands Media was founded by QAnon influencers Jon Herold and Kate Buckley, and it features multiple QAnon influencers as hosts and has largely dedicated its programming to covering QAnon and related conspiracy theories. One of its shows, Why We Vote, is dedicated to amplifying election conspiracy theories and misinformation, claiming to feature “voting experts throughout the nation to explore why the foundation of our Republic needs to remain a focus of patriots, despite repeated attempts at fraud and election theft.”
- Videos from the QAnon-affiliated X22 Report channel appeared on the leaderboard at least 242 times, earning over 46.6 million views and more than 2.2 million likes. X22 Report is a QAnon-promoting show with a history of amplifying extreme anti-vaccine misinformation, overt support for the January 6 insurrection, and baseless anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theories. The show joined Rumble in 2020 after being banned from YouTube during a QAnon crackdown and has been linked to at least one act of real world violence.
- Videos from Julie Green Ministries, a channel which has amplified violent, religious conspiracy theories, appeared on the leaderboard at least 77 times, earning more than 11 million views and over 914,000 likes. Green has claimed that God will execute political figures “for their planned pandemic, shortages, inflation, mandates and for stealing an election,” that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “loves to drink the little children’s blood,” that the government is conducting “human sacrifices” to stay in power, and that President Joe Biden is secretly dead and an “actor” is playing him.
Videos from conspiracy theorists outperformed content from Rumble’s exclusive creators
Rumble Exclusives channels accounted for at least 1,198 videos (13%) on the leaderboard, earning over 263.2 million views and over 5 million likes. This means that videos from creators producing content exclusively for Rumble appeared on the leaderboard less frequently than videos from QAnon channels, which accounted for at least 1,655 videos (18%) on the leaderboard.
Rumble Exclusives creators include a variety of right-wing personalities and conspiracy theorists, as well as gamers, pranksters, and streamers focused on gambling and sports. COVID-19 conspiracy theorist Russell Brand, right-wing show The Dan Bongino Show, and right-wing personality Steven Crowder appeared on the leaderboard at least 153 times, 115 times, and 60 times, respectively.
Notably, less than 1% of videos on the leaderboard came from gamers, pranksters, gambling and/or sports channels, despite Rumble’s purported efforts to expand its nonpolitical content and attract younger users to the platform. Examples of Rumble Exclusives channels that produce nonpolitical content include “Power Slap,” “The Kai ‘N Speed Show,” and “Mizkif”:
- Videos from Power Slap, a dangerous “slap fighting” organization, appeared on the leaderboard 4 times, earning more than 454,900 views and over 2,400 likes. Power Slap is led by UFC President and Trump sycophant Dana White. The organization specifies on its website that the “sport” is “licensed and sanctioned by the Nevada State Athletic Commission,” but the former chairman of the commission that regulates combat sports in Nevada said that he “made a mistake” approving the sport and that he’s “not happy about it.” Chris Nowinski, co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, called slap fighting “one of the stupidest things you can do,” adding that it’s not comparable to boxing because “you can slip” punches in boxing, but in slap fighting “you’re taking out everything that’s interesting to watch … and just doing the brain damage part.”
- Videos from The Kai ‘N Speed Show, a channel which describes itself as “the craziest adventures on the internet,” also appeared on the leaderboard 4 times, earning over 8 million views and at least 66,000 likes. The Kai ‘N Speed Show has aired on Rumble only 4 times, with all 4 appearing on the leaderboard. Hosts Kai Cenat and Darren Watkins Jr. are both known for gaming livestreams and outlandish prank videos, and they have each been at least temporarily banned from various streaming platforms. Recently, Cenat was arrested and charged with inciting a riot after hosting a video game console giveaway that devolved into chaos and violence in New York City’s Union Square.
- Videos from gamer Mizkif appeared on the leaderboard at least 10 times, earning at least 1.2 million views and over 8,600 likes. Mizkif, who is also known as Matthew Rinaudo, is a co-founder of the Texas-based gaming influencer network One True King. Notably, in September 2022, he was temporarily placed on an unpaid leave of absence from the organization while he underwent an investigation into both his alleged role in covering up a sexual assault perpetrated by a close friend and “leaked conversations where Mizkif said homophobic and racist slurs.” The investigation was conducted by a “third-party law firm” that “found no direct evidence” showing that Mizkif attempted to cover up a sexual assault.
QAnon channels accounted for 7 of the top 10 most-liked videos
Notably, 7 of the 10 most-liked videos that we identified on the leaderboard between February 1 and July 31 were from QAnon channels. Of those 7 videos, 6 were from the QAnon-supporting X22 Report channel and discussed QAnon-adjacent topics, such as Trump and the military’s alleged seven-year plan, women and child trafficking, and election misinformation. The other was from Phil Godlewski, a “QAnon leader” who “carried on an inappropriate relationship with a minor that police records suggest turned sexual.” The other 3 videos among the 10 most-liked videos were a livestream of a Trump rally in Erie, Pennsylvania, an episode of Julie Green Ministries' show, and an episode of Steven Crowder's show.
Channels which attract young viewers with misogyny and push right-wing extremism have appeared on the leaderboard more frequently in recent months
Videos from channels that push rhetoric associated with the “manosphere” — a far-right community that recruits susceptible young men with toxic masculinity and misogyny, accounted for 3% of the videos we identified on the leaderboard between February 1 and July 31, earning over 46 million views and at least 1 million likes.
Notably, videos from these channels have appeared more frequently of late: They accounted for just 27 appearances on the leaderboard in February, but 94 appearances on the leaderboard in July.
- Videos from Sneako, who has repeatedly promoted white Christian nationalist Nick Fuentes on his channel, appeared on the leaderboard at least 84 times, earning over 8.5 million views and at least 161,000 likes. On May 30, Sneako held a harrowingly antisemitic and homophobic six-hour livestream with Fuentes that appeared on Rumble’s leaderboard as the fourth most-liked video on the platform from that day. In Sneako’s video, which Rumble removed but Fuentes then reposted to his own channel, Fuentes effectively denied that the Holocaust was genocide and parroted the antisemitic propaganda of blood libel from the Middle Ages, accusing Jews of “communing with demons” and of “using Christian blood in their rituals.”
- Videos from FreshandFit — which describes itself as the “the #1 men’s podcast in the world” covering “females, fitness, and finances” — appeared on the leaderboard at least 74 times, earning over 19.5 million views and at least 331,000 likes. Hosts of the Fresh & Fit podcast include Why Women Deserve Less author Myron Gaines and dating and lifestyle coach Walter Weekes, who both regularly spew misogynistic and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and demean a panel of young women who appear on the show’s “After Hours” streams. The show has also embraced Holocaust denial and extreme antisemitism.
- Videos from misogynist Andrew Tate appeared on the leaderboard at least 43 times, earning more than 10 million views and at least 340,000 likes. Tate, who is banned from Meta, YouTube, and TikTok for his hateful and violent rhetoric, is known for serving as a misogynist guru for young boys and men. He has encouraged a “mass exodus” from other platforms to Rumble and repeatedly promoted the platform (which has repeatedly promoted him in turn, even reportedly paying him $9 million to make Rumble his streaming platform of choice, even though he is banned from most others). Several of Tate’s videos appeared on the leaderboard while he was imprisoned and later under house arrest in Romania, awaiting a trial for charges relating to an alleged sex trafficking operation he ran with his brother along with several charges of rape.
Media Matters analyzed Rumble’s “Battle Leaderboard Top 50” — a prominently displayed ranking of the 50 most-liked videos uploaded to or streamed on the platform during the previous 24 hours — every day between February 1 and July 31, 2023. We captured data once per day at roughly the same time, so other videos may have appeared on the leaderboard at other times in the day and not been included. (Leaderboard data for May 4, 2023, was excluded from the study because of an outage for Rumble’s leaderboard that day.)
We compiled a list of the channels that posted at least one of the 9,000 videos on the leaderboard during the time frame studied, resulting in 286 channels.
Three researchers then independently assessed these channels for a range of factors, including whether the channel:
- Had predominantly English-language content.
- Is affiliated with a right-wing media figure or outlet (legacy, digital, or streaming) that either self-identified as conservative or right-leaning, or espoused right-wing view points in its videos, such as support for former President Donald Trump or opposition to Democrats.
- Is an official channel for, or produced by, a current GOP candidate or elected official.
- Belonged to an individual who self-identified as conservative or right-leaning, or espoused right-wing view points in their videos, such as support for Trump or opposition to Democrats.
- Belonged to an individual or group of individuals who self-identify as followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory or referenced “Q” or the “WWG1WGA” slogan on its “About” page.
- Is contracted to produce exclusive content for Rumble, as announced on Rumble’s blog or official X (Twitter) account.
Researchers also evaluated whether the first page of videos on the channel met any of the following conditions:
- The majority of the videos focused on gaming, gambling, pranking, or sports.
- The videos frequently used misogynistic, anti-LGBTQ, and/or violent rhetoric.
- The channel referenced “Q” or “WWG1WGA” in the titles and/or thumbnails of at least two of its most recent videos or featured discussions about “Q drops” in at least two of its most recent videos.
- The videos frequently used anti-establishment rhetoric in addition to discussing conspiracy theories more than partisan politics and culture war topics.
- The videos featured religious or spiritual rhetoric, including invocations of God, calls to prayer, proselytizing or advocacy for a particular religion, and/or discussions about tarot and/or psychic predictions.
Researchers reviewed each channel individually; if two of the three researchers independently awarded it the same code, it was given that code. Channels that did not achieve this level of consensus were reviewed again individually by an additional coder who then reconciled discrepancies.
Data contributions from Payton Armstrong, Camden Carter, Ethan Collier, Kayla Gogarty, Alex Kaplan, Alex Paterson, Gideon Taaffe, and Jack Winstanley.