DeSantis embraces YouTube alternative as conservatives battle Big Tech
Toronto-based video-sharing platform Rumble launched in 2013
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is embracing a YouTube alternative after the Google-owned platform removed a video featuring the Republican governor and public health experts, claiming they shared misinformation.
As conservatives battle Big Tech, claiming censorship of right-leaning ideas and posts on platforms, DeSantis is taking his messaging to a new platform – Rumble – a Toronto-based video-sharing platform that launched in 2013 with the focus of helping "small and independent video creators" grow their footprint and their audience.
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DeSantis posted his first video to the platform on April 15, titled "Gov. DeSantis Fights Back Against Big Tech Censorship."
"Some of our biggest media conglomerates, who claim to be avatars of the First Amendment and free exchange of ideas, they've become cheerleaders for censorship," DeSantis said in the video. "If something doesn't fit the overriding narrative then, in their view, it's better that it's left on the cutting room floor, it's best that you edit it out of existence rather than actually tell people the truth."
"What we're really witnessing is Orwellian – it is a Big Tech, corporate media collusion," DeSantis said, adding that "the end result is that the narrative is always right."
DeSantis, this week, started posting more regularly on the platform, including videos of his remarks after signing anti-riot legislation in Florida.
DeSantis' use of Rumble comes after YouTube, earlier this month, removed a video featuring DeSantis and a roundtable panel of medical officials in Florida. During the video, they said children do not need to wear face masks in school – a sentiment that conflicts with recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A spokesperson for YouTube told FOX Business that it has clear policies around COVID-19-related misinformation to support the safety of users.
"We removed this video because it included content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19," the spokesperson said. "We allow videos that otherwise violate our policies to remain on the platform if they contain sufficient educational, documentary, scientific or artistic context. Our policies apply to everyone, and focus on content regardless of the speaker or channel."
In a statement to FOX Business after its removal, a spokesperson for DeSantis criticized the move as a "blatant example of Big Tech attempting to silence those who disagree with their woke corporate agenda."
Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski welcomed DeSantis to the platform, calling him a "longtime proponent of free speech" and someone who "has been at the forefront of the effort to demonopolize Big Tech."
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"He understands firsthand Americans' distrust of monolithic tech companies and the danger they pose to free expression and free markets," Pavlovski said, adding that Rumble "invites robust and civic dialogue on our platform, including Gov. DeSantis’ insights and expertise."
As for handling alleged misinformation on Rumble, Pavlovski said the platform has "strict policies" when it comes to content that incites violence, racism, anti-Semitism, terrorism and more.
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"But when it comes to opinions that people disagree with or consider to be wrong or right, we encourage debate, we encourage opinions, civil discourse, and encourage creators to speak their mind as long as it doesn’t violent those underlying rules," Pavlovski told Fox News.
"When it comes to opinions we disagree with, that's important, we're all for that," he said.
The platform is also used by lawmakers like Reps. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., as well as other Republicans, including Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Lara Trump.