Representatives for Mr. Pavlovsky and Rumble did not respond to interview requests.
But he’s made it clear in streamed remarks to Rumble’s creators and others that his ambitions are far more important than increasing traffic to his website and app. With investments from like-minded Big Tech critics like Mr. Thiel, Mr. Pavlovski outlined a vision for building a “new internet” — a kind of alt-web entirely separate from the dominant players in the industry.
Rumble has already built its own cloud services infrastructure and video streaming capability, giving itself and its partners greater independence from the Amazons and Microsofts of the Internet – and the assurance that they cannot be shut down if one of these providers decides to pull the plug on objectionable content. The experience of social media network Parler, which effectively shut down after Amazon said it would no longer host the site on its IT services after the attacks on January 6 last year, looms large. in the minds of Rumble fans.
The promise of independence from tech giants led Mr. Trump to ask Rumble to provide cloud technologies and services to Truth Social, which has struggled to become fully operational on its own. In a statement announcing the partnership in December, Mr. Trump said he chose Rumble because it is one of the service providers “that does not discriminate against political ideology.”
Rumble has also struck exclusive deals with popular content creators who have a following beyond conservatives and Trump supporters, like journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has expressed his belief that tech giants and mainstream media have too much power to override speech. Rumble pointed to its partnership with Mr. Greenwald as an example of its content-neutral approach. (As for what he considers prohibited, Rumble says he doesn’t tolerate anything that’s overtly racist, encourages violence, or breaks the law.)
But there are also the popular Rumble creators the company doesn’t talk about in press releases, like Infowars’ Alex Jones, who was kicked out of YouTube and other mainstream platforms in 2018 and now has over 100. 000 subscribers to Rumble.
That’s a small number compared to the millions on YouTube following Mr Jones, who spread false theories that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was staged as part of a government plot to confiscate guns from fire. Those who study the right-wing media ecosystem say it’s hard to say what the overall audience for far-right content is, largely because the traffic data available for individual sites includes many overlaps of content. ‘users who frequent more than one .
“It’s an extremely engaged population,” said Yochai Benkler, a Harvard Law School professor and co-author of a book about how conservative media reinforce their messages through repetition and stifle dissent. For an individual platform like Rumble, he added, the audience is likely to be larger than any size on paper.