Former President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office before signing an executive order regulating social media on May 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
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Former President Donald Trump’s proposed social network will now rely on a video-sharing site known for spreading anti-vaxxer and QAnon conspiracies to deliver its video and streaming services, the Trump Media and Technology Group (TMGT) announced last night.
Truth Social, part of TMGT’s proposed media empire, will partner with Rumble in a “far-reaching cloud technology and services deal.” The companies are also apparently in “exclusive negotiations” to launch a subscription streaming service called TMGT+.
Interestingly, the press release claimed that Truth Social had already launched for “guests only” and that Rumble was already providing cloud services to the beta. In October, when Trump announced his new venture, the former president said a beta version of Truth would go live in November.
It’s unclear if the site has actually launched in any capacity, how many guests use Truth Social, or who those guests are.
What is clear though, is that a partnership with Rumble would make a lot of sense. Rumble is a Canadian technology company launched in 2013. However, its popularity has grown over the past 12 months thanks to the support of right-wing figures like Donald Trump Jr. and Dan Bongino. The company also obtained the financial backing from Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel and Hillbilly Elegy author and Senate candidate JD Vance.
Rumble bills itself as a free-speech alternative to YouTube and other mainstream social networks, but the site is actually filled with conspiratorial videos, including channels run by many of the top QAnon influencers who were kicked out of YouTube and Facebook over the past 12 months. month.
Rumble claims he does not promote conspiracies, but that’s obviously not true; a quick search on topics like vaccines disproves this, as many of the top results contain misinformation.
The business plans of these two companies also raise questions.
Despite the fact that Truth Social has yet to launch any services or products and was hacked within minutes of its announcement, some investors are still drooling over a Trump-branded media empire; the company has an icalculated valuation of over $10 billion. However, his investor the presentation was littered with errors and featured some details copied and pasted from the internet.
Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, was recently named CEO. TMTG is considering going public with a deal with a SPAC or blank check company — an entity solely intended to pool resources to fund a merger or take a company public — in a move that has raised red flags for some investors.
“It’s weird and murky”, Matthew Tuttle, The CEO of Tuttle Capital Management told CNN.I have never seen anything like it before. And I probably never will again.
Much like Trump’s company, Rumble recently announced that it is also going public through a merger with a SPAC. Part of the reason Rumble goes public, in addition to looking to expand globally, is to raise the funds it needs to build its own infrastructure online to protect itself from what the company views as the overzealous censorship and anti-conservative bias of mainstream platforms.
In an interview with Fox News earlier this month, Rumble founder Chris Pavlovski said the company “relies on its own hardware in its own data centers rather than the cloud provided and controlled by Big Tech”.
As an investigative journalist Arieh Kovler pointed out on Twitter, that’s not entirely true, as Rumble still relies on many other companies to keep it online, including giants like Amazon, Apple, and Google.
Rumble’s assertion of building its own infrastructure, and the need for it, is part of a larger trend.
Gab, a Christian social network known for hosting neo-Nazis and white supremacists, has also invested heavily in its own infrastructure. Many consumer service providers cut ties with the network because the suspected shooter of the 2018 attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh maintained an active account on the platform.
Gab’s CEO has been one of the most vocal critics of mainstream platforms, but he’s also been extremely critical of Rumble in recent months, saying the platform has gone mainstream. In an email to Gab users on Tuesday evening, Andrew Torba said:
“Rumble’s Terms of Service are now no different than any Big Tech platform. The major difference is that unlike Rumble, Big Tech platforms are at least American companies and have the ability to defend the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment. Rumble, as a Canadian company, does not. While conservatives are being told by the talking heads in conservative Inc. circles to use Rumble, these are things they should keep in mind.
But Rumble probably won’t care too much about Torba’s criticism. Like every other alt-tech platform over the past 12 months, Gab hoped Trump would choose their platform as his new online home, bringing his tens of millions of followers with him.
By teaming up with Trump, Rumble is, for now, one step ahead of its rivals.