Rumble was founded in 2013 but saw a massive growth in users in July 2020, going from 1.6 million users to 31.9 million users following the American General Election: making it vital for any OSINT investigation, particularly in Canada.
It is marketed as an alternative to YouTube which champions online free speech and has loose restrictions on what constitutes as a violation of its video policy. It is likely due to these restrictions that Rumble saw a spike in subscribers in July 2020, as many political figures who have had YouTube videos removed in the past for questioning the results of the election chose to utilise the platform. Although Rumble have a more lenient approach to their moderation, all users are banned from posting videos that include illegal activity.
Rumble’s home page features multiple sections such as Top Videos, News, a Viral section and more recently a Live section, where users can broadcast. For users, videos are displayed in chronological order as opposed to utilising an algorithm, and content is subject to human review rather than using algorithms to filter higher risk video content. Rumble’s main Facebook page boasts 2.1 million followers, and they have three further Facebook pages named Rumble Dogs, Rumble Kittens and Rumble Kids.
A key benefit for Rumble users is that they can gain up to 60% of the advertising revenue from their videos, as opposed to the 10-15% that YouTube offer. Users can upload videos that are licensed to Rumble’s partners, some of which include Yahoo! and Microsoft news, whereby revenue is then deposited directly into their account. Other options for earning include content creators giving up the rights to their videos in exchange for a lump sum of money.
Donald Trump has recently joined Rumble after being permanently banned from Twitter and being suspended from Facebook and YouTube, ahead of his rally in Ohio. This may see an increase in users over the coming months who wish to view the former President’s content. Rumble are also currently in the midst of a lawsuit against Google over their search results, claiming that Google manipulate their algorithm to favour YouTube.
We have started to see Rumble feature more frequently in our Canadian investigations in particular – but given the growth rate its likely that the platform will gain more global traction in the coming months. Unsurprisingly given the looser content restrictions its not unusual to locate people with more extreme views, but in amongst that we have been able to locate critical intelligence for our investigations – into both people and incidents.
At NetWatch we are now pro-actively searching for investigation subjects on Rumble, and with the platform continuing to grow, it’s definitely one to watch and be aware of.
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