EXCLUSIVE: Rumble, the smaller-scale YouTube alternative video-sharing platform, has seen a "tremendous" increase in growth, the company's CEO told Fox Business in an exclusive interview.
Rumble's average monthly users have skyrocketed from 1.6 million in the third quarter of 2020 – around the time of the 2020 election – to 31.9 million as of the end of the 2021 first quarter.
Rumble, a Toronto-based video-sharing platform, launched in 2013 -- "not as a political platform, but as a way to provide video creators a way to host, manage, distribute and monetize their content," according to CEO Chris Pavlovski.
The company, Pavlovski said, was "built on the belief that small creators should be given equal opportunity to freely express themselves, reach their followers without restriction, and be given the same access to tools that large creators have."
But in recent months, as Republican lawmakers take on Big Tech, amid claims of censorship of conservative viewpoints and ideas, Rumble is seeing "tremendous growth."
Pavlovski told FOX Business during an exclusive interview Tuesday that in Q1 2020, the platform had an average monthly unique user rate of 1.2 million. By the end of Q3 2020, Rumble's average monthly users grew to 1.6 million, and by the end of Q4 2020, it attracted an average of 21 million users per month.
"By the end of Q1 2021, we were at 31.9 million average monthly users," Pavlovski told FOX Business. "April is looking fairly consistent."
The growth took place surrounding the 2020 presidential election and reached its current level in the months after YouTube and other social media companies permanently banned former President Trump from their platforms following the Capitol riot in January.
Pavlovski also shared data on "average minutes watched" to illustrate the platform’s growth— telling Fox Business that in Q3 2020, the platform saw, on average, 188 million minutes watched per month, versus an average of 4.5 billion minutes watched per month in Q1 2021.
"We launched in 2013 to compete in this market, and what we saw were platforms, in 2013, de-prioritizing small creators and prioritizing large influencers," Pavlovski explained. "We felt it was time to come into the market and help that small creator."
"By 2020 and 2021, large platforms were prioritizing content they want to amplify—not by small creators," he continued. "That exodus has been happening in the last year at a pace that I think will set in stone for the long term—those small creators are fed up with the larger platforms and are looking for an alternative solution— and I think they found it in Rumble."
Pavlovski said his focus is on "creating a fair ecosystem for all—small, large, left, right, doesn’t matter."
"My goal is to keep it as fair as possible. We're not interested in taking any position on any type of content, we just want to be a platform, and I believe that's why we've seen so much growth," Pavlovski said, adding that the company "hasn't moved the goal posts on our policies—we've stuck to our core policies we started with in 2013."
"By doing that, and keeping a good, fair ecosystem, we’ve created the ability for people to reach their friends and family and viewers on Rumble without an obstruction or restrictions," Pavlovski said.
Pavlovski explained that a users’ feed on Rumble is in "chronological order."
"We’re not amplifying anybody’s comments that gets a lot of likes or comments—there is no amplification of any kind, so users are just reaching their followers in a free and fair way," he said. "We’re built on the premise for the small creator."
But amid Republicans’ war on Big Tech companies, like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, prominent conservatives have begun to move their social media content to other, alternative platforms — in video-sharing, Rumble — and for Twitter, Parler, a conservative version of the social media platform.
At this point, Republican politicians like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Republican Reps. Devin Nunes, Elise Stefanik, Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, and Sen. Rand Paul have started using Rumble, as well as members of former President Trump’s family — like his sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, as well as his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump.
Other prominent conservative voices like Dan Bongino, Sebastian Gorka, Charlie Kirk and others have also started using the platform.
But when asked whether Rumble should be seen as a platform for only conservatives, Pavlovski denied the assumption.
"We are building a fair ecosystem for everyone, regardless of whether you're on the left or the right," he said. "We welcome anyone to our platform and we encourage everyone to use our platform, regardless of what your thoughts are."
He added: "Whether you like gaming, or politics on the left or the right, we welcome you and welcome you to bring your friends or family and know there will be no obstruction in seeing your content."
Some Republicans, though, have begun using Rumble after being banned or having their content removed from other social media platforms.
For example, DeSantis, earlier this month, had a video removed from YouTube. It featured a roundtable discussion he had with medical experts regarding whether children should be forced to wear masks in classrooms amid the coronavirus pandemic — most of the experts shared views on the matter that were directly in conflict 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 medical 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."
But Pavlovski was asked about Section 230, and how Rumble handles alleged misinformation or content regulation on the platform.
As for handling alleged misinformation on Rumble, Pavlovski said that the platform has "strict policies" when it comes to content that incites violence, racism, antisemitism, terrorist groups and more.
"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.