President Trump, who has joined the Rumble video platform, ushered in his digital comeback after bans against his accounts restricted his access to Google-owned Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
By joining YouTube rival Rumble, Trump is attempting to redefine his social media persona, from an outcast silenced by tech giants to a defiant outsider who defies the status quo.
Followers shouldn’t expect to see concise blog posts on Rumble like they would on Twitter. Instead, the user experience is more like YouTube, with video clips and short streams. The first video from Trump’s account featured a live feed of his rally in Ohio on Saturday.
Rumble, fueled by an influx of users and cash, particularly from the conservatives, has mounted its own insurgent campaign against its much larger rival, Google.
Rumble has roughly 30 million monthly users and has grown its user base by 10% month-over-month, Rumble founder Chris Pavlovski said last month. That’s more than 800,000 monthly visits in August, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Rumble has sued Google for antitrust violations in federal court and recently obtained a large undisclosed investment from a group that includes billionaire Peter Thiel and conservative author JD Vance. Thiel, founder of PayPal and Facebook’s first outside investor, supported Trump’s first presidential bid and Vance is considering running for the Republican nomination for a US Senate seat from Ohio.
Rumble’s detractors say it does not share the ideological commitment to free speech that was the hallmark of Parler and Gab social media that similarly sought to compete with established tech companies. Parler and Gab featured Twitter-like microblogging posts that have drawn right-wing audiences as fears of censorship by more prominent platforms have grown.
Gab founder Andrew Torba criticized Rumble for allegedly changing his terms of service the day Trump joined to include new policies on hate speech. John Matze, Parler’s fired former co-founder, joined in and questioned Rumble’s motivation for securing Trump’s digital presence.
“I wonder how much capital or money Rumble had to give… The same Rumble that runs entirely on Google Ads, Google Analytics, etc. [that is] great technology, ”Matze said in a Gab post. “It’s not that I think Trump’s brand is worth anything anymore.”
Before his departure at Parler, Matze spoke favorably about what Trump’s addition to Parler would mean for the upstart platform. Last June, he told The Washington Times that his platform would likely have trouble scaling if Trump suddenly joined Parler.
Pavlovski did not respond to questions about Trump’s incorporation and criticism from the Gab and Parler founders. Last month, Pavlovski said he was more interested in competing with the big platforms in power than in mixing things up in American politics.
Rumble’s competitor YouTube has also not canceled the restoration of Trump’s access. Twitter has permanently banned Trump and Facebook has extended its ban until at least 2023, but YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said in March that her platform would end the former president’s suspension after determining the risk of violence had ceased. .
YouTube and Google did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.