QAnon supporters and right-wing figures used the conservative video-sharing platform Rumble to host Election Day livestreams and other midterms coverage, earning millions of views on content that pushed election-related conspiracy theories and misinformation. Many of these Rumble videos were shared across Facebook, even as some seem to violate the platform's policies.
Launched in 2013, Rumble has cast itself as a conservative alternative to YouTube, the Google-owned video sharing platform, and it has since gained the financial backing of prominent conservatives, including billionaire Peter Thiel, Ohio Sen.-elect J.D. Vance, and Fox News host Dan Bongino. The platform, which has been described by founder Chris Pavlovski as “immune from cancel culture,” has become a home for users who have been convinced by right-wing politicians and media personalities that they are being unfairly targeted and censored on Facebook, even though such claims have been repeatedly debunked.
Following the January 6 insurrection, many right-wing figures who pushed former President Donald Trump’s election lies saw their content or accounts demonetized or removed from YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook for violating their policies.
This 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. The company claims to have had “a record day for users and consumption” on Election Day.
Media Matters found that coverage of the midterms on Rumble was shared across Facebook during election week, with right-wing figures promoting their Rumble content on their Facebook pages and users in right-wing Facebook groups sharing it. This content spread across Facebook, even though some of it seemingly violates the platform’s policies, including its ban on QAnon-related content.
Midterms coverage from QAnon-supporting Rumble channels spread across Facebook, despite supposed ban
Media Matters identified 54 videos on Rumble from known QAnon-supporting channels about the midterms on the days surrounding the election (from November 7 to November 15). These videos, which collectively earned over 4.5 million views, frequently featured election-related conspiracy theories and baseless allegations of fraud.
They were also repeatedly shared in right-wing Facebook groups, despite Facebook’s supposed ban on QAnon content. (In previous reporting on Rumble’s ambitions, Media Matters noted that users repeatedly shared Rumble links to QAnon content in right-wing Facebook groups.)
Right-wing midterms coverage on Rumble proliferated across Facebook pages and groups
Media Matters found that right-wing Facebook pages posting about the midterms from November 7 through November 15 shared links to Rumble at least 81 times, earning over 53,000 total interactions on these posts.
In 2020, right-wing media praised BlazeTV’s Steven Crowder for successfully drawing in millions of viewers to his election night YouTube livestream, celebrating that he “competed with big networks.” This election cycle, with Crowder currently banned from YouTube, he instead took his infamous livestream to Rumble, where he featured a range of right-wing figures including Donald Trump Jr., Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens, Ted Cruz, and Kari Lake.
In a tweet promoting the livestream, Crowder claimed that he and his viewers would set the record for “the single largest stream that has ever taken place off of the biggest media platform that exists on earth, YouTube and Google,” encouraging a “tectonic shift” where “people who create content are emboldened to leave the ghettos” of “YouTube and of Facebook.”
Right-wing media are now praising Crowder for his election night Rumble livestream, which earned over 3 million views, supposedly setting a new record for livestreams on the platform.
Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk co-hosted an election night livestream on Rumble with Turning Point USA contributors Savanah Hernandez, Jack Posobiec, and Benny Johnson that earned nearly 1 million views.
During the livestream, Kirk and his guests attacked mainstream media, mocking CNN anchor John King for warning viewers to avoid election misinformation on social media. They further claimed that King’s comments were evidence that mainstream media outlets are threatened by livestreams like theirs.
Users in both public and private right-wing Facebook groups shared numerous links to election-related Rumble videos from Crowder, Kirk, and other conservative figures.