While former president Donald Trump may no longer be posting after being banned from most major social media sites, his oldest son is testing the waters at one of the newest video conservative-friendly video platforms: Rumble.
Last week, Donald Trump Jr. began posting daily videos to Rumble. It’s not just video uploads either. Don Jr. has also been promoting Rumble on other platforms too. Over the past week, he has repeatedly used his Twitter account to boast about the “level playing field” Rumble provides for conservative content.
Over the weekend, the eldest Trump child even posted a video explaining why he would be using Rumble for his video content from now on.
Free-speech is fundamentally American, yet because of Big Tech we are losing it rapidly. Algorithms designed to crush the voice conservatives sounds more like China than America.
Check out my video content on Rumble where a level playing field exists! https://t.co/BERFYqWOPP
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 20, 2021
“This is where I’m going to put up the vast majority of my video content,” Don Jr. says in his clip about Rumble. “It’s a platform that still believes in freedom of speech.”
What is Rumble?
Conservatives have been flocking to alternative social media platforms as sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have updated their policies and widened the scope of banned content featuring hate speech, harassment, and dangerous disinformation. , for example, was founded by conservative developers and is funded by Rebekah Mercer, a prominent donor to right-wing candidates and causes, looking to provide a new online hub for these users. The conservative platform has become probably the biggest of the alternative social networks, providing right-leaning users with a replacement for Facebook or Twitter.
Rumble, however, wasn’t initially created with the purpose to provide an alternative for conservatives.
The video platform was founded in 2013 by its tech entrepreneur CEO Chris Pavlovski after he was radicalized, not by right-wing content, but by Google’s monopolization of the online video ecosystem via YouTube. According to Pavlovski, he created Rumble because he smaller creators with an opportunity to make money with online video content. The company is based in Toronto, Canada and currently has a team of just under 30 people.
For the past eight years, Rumble has chugged along as a fairly unknown video platform mostly featuring viral videos and cute animal clips. The site has partnered with mainstream brands over the years, such as America’s Funniest Videos and Reuters. Publicly available stats on Rumble also show that there have been some creators who’ve earned thousands of dollars for their viral clips. Rumble monetizes content through advertising and also by licensing user content to its big brand partners.
Where can you download Rumble?
How involved is Donald Trump Jr.?
In his video heralding Rumble, Don Jr. goes on to boast about Rumble’s algorithm, which he says treats conservatives fairly, and once again mentions the platform’s “level playing field.”
Don Jr.’s messaging is so promotional of Rumble that it feels like a marketing campaign for the platform.
A partnership between conservative personalities and alternative online platforms isn’t unheard of. Earlier this month, documents obtained by showed that the biggest of these right wing social platforms, Parler, was offering President Trump as much as 40 percent of the company in order to get him on the platform. The deal didn’t go through.
However, a deal between Rumble and right-wing talk show host Dan Bongino did. Bongino, who is also a co-owner in Parler, holds an in Rumble in exchange for exclusively broadcasting his show on the service.
“Just like Spotify brought in Joe Rogan, we were looking to bring in some big podcasters,” explained Pavlovski in an interview with BuzzFeed last November after Bongino announced the partnership.
Bongino is a big get for an upcoming platform like Rumble. His Facebook page is one best performers on Facebook. His posts pull in more engagement than major media outlets do on a daily basis.
It’s unclear if Donald Trump Jr. has a deal with Rumble or if his videos are even monetized. He has uploaded 23 videos since he first started using the platform six days ago. While Don Jr. still uses other platforms like Twitter, where he has 6.7 million followers, his Rumble uploads are unique to the platform. His clips on Rumble are shot YouTube vlogger-style, talking directly to the camera.
Most of Don Jr.’s videos receive tens of thousands of views on Rumble, however he does have one that went viral and is approaching one million views.
Mashable reached out to Rumble for comment on Donald Trump Jr. joining its platform and specifically asked if they were in partnership to promote the platform. The company sent an overview of its content moderation policies in response.
“Rumble has 4M+ creators that can host, distribute and monetize their videos as long as the creators work within our Terms and Conditions,” said a Rumble spokesperson in an email. “Rumble has strict moderation policies when it comes to inciting violence, illegal content, racism, antisemitism, and promoting terrorist groups (designated by US and Canadian governments), as well as violating copyrights are among many other restrictions found in our Terms.”
These terms from the video service which Donald Trump Jr. is declaring a “free speech” haven are in-line with many of the policies broken by conservative users who were banned from mainstream platforms. For example, Facebook and Twitter Trump early last month following the former president’s incitement of the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The question that remains to be answered is if Rumble will enforce its terms of service if and when a user breaks them.
What’s next for Rumble?
Now that the right has embraced Rumble, Rumble appears to be using the newfound audience to boost its profile.
Over the past few months, Rumble CEO Pavlovski has shared news of prominent conservative outlets, such as Newsmax, joining the platform on his . The company has also filed an against Google in January over what Rumble says is its preference of YouTube over other video platforms in its search results.
Rumble also appears to be readying itself for the next chapter of its platform: livestreaming.
The company posted an open call on Twitter, asking its followers to suggest which of its users should be the first to test out its upcoming livestreaming service. Rumble’s replies were inundated by users suggesting various right-wing personalities and outlets. Right Side Broadcasting Network, an independent conservative media outlet which covered Trump’s campaigns, rallies, and presidency over the past 5 years, also volunteered.
Livestreaming has been a major boon to right-wing content creators’ fundraising efforts. Advertising tends to be a major source of revenue for uploaded videos and many advertisers try to avoid political content. On livestreaming platforms like YouTube and DLive, fans can donate money directly to their favorite creators during a stream via features like “Super Chats.”Creators can make hundreds of dollars from a single chatroom comment during a livestream.
For its efforts, Rumble has now found itself as one of the top 1,000 most trafficked websites in the world, according to the Amazon-owned web analytics service . It’s even surpassed , a far-right video platform that was founded in 2017 with the purpose of appealing to right wing users.
Interestingly though, a look at Rumble’s recommendation algorithm — the same one Don Jr. talked so positively about — shows that the video company may still be hesitant to brand itself as a conservative platform.
As more conservatives sign up for Rumble, the top videos on its homepage as well as its curated editors picks still mostly consist of the viral videos and silly animal clips that Rumble previously focused on.