Robert Barnes, attorney for Alex Jones, has removed hate groups from Rumble’s content policy

While the online video platform Rumble has taken a long time Cash To amplify right-wing misinformation and conspiracy theories, the video hosting service is poised to go in a darker direction, hiring an attorney Alex Jones to craft new content modification policies that remove existing bans on hate-promoting or inciting material groups.

In June, Rumble tasked one of Jones’ long-standing libel attorneys with the task of reforming the site’s oversight rules. And he made some troubling changes.

Attorney Robert Barnes, is a frequent guest on Infowars and Sandy Hook’s top libel attorney for Jones More than three years. But while Barnes wasn’t in a Texas courtroom during the explosive final days of Jones’ latest multi-million dollar defeat, he did offer to air an ad. “Introductory statement” To Shadow Critical Jury: Infowars Audience.

Rumble — who has business ties to prominent Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, tech billionaire and political investor Peter Thiel, and Ohio Senate candidate J. D. Vance — tapped Barnes this spring, just as the Sandy Hook trial was heating up. Working alongside Canadian attorney and Rumble content producer David Freiheit (also known as “Viva Frei”), Barnes has stripped away existing language that explicitly prohibits material that supports or incites fringe groups, including — by name — the Ku Klux Klan and white race.

The site announced the changes in June with the extension Internal blog post And the press release. Barnes Fry’s suggestion strips The language of current politics Block “content or material” that the online community considers “extremely offensive.”

“The proposed oversight policies were designed by leading Rumble and Locals authors Robert Barnes and David Friheit, both accomplished attorneys,” press release Announcing the changes he said. “Under the proposed policies, content creators will be able to express themselves to interested audiences within the limits of the law and without harassment while ensuring a consistent and transparent process as the platform continues to grow rapidly.”

rumble CURRENT TERMS– Last edited in early January – Fully specific about prohibited content.

The policy states that “in no event shall the following be provided to the Rumble Service.” It then identifies several types of violations, including material that “promotes, supports or incites” violent individuals or groups, such as persons “affiliated with Antifa, the KKK and white supremacist groups and/or persons affiliated with such groups”.

Not only does Barnes’ proposed terminology de-name those groups, but it doesn’t say anything about content that promotes hate groups at all. Furthermore, the proposal also gets rid of simple language that states that these rules apply to user-submitted content.

The press release And the indoor advertisement He quoted Barnes as saying that the proposal “would provide free space for open speech without politicized discrimination” while “at the same time protecting users from harassing behaviour”.

The only distinction mentioned by Freiheit is to guard against the “non-discriminatory application” of these rules.

While the proposed policy prohibits “discrimination against others based on their legally protected status,” the policy – unlike the current terms – does not explicitly apply this rule to uploaded content.

Additionally, the proposed terms apply this nondiscrimination policy only to Rumble users, not to other people outside the platform who may also be targeted, “such as attacking other users or creators on the platform based on a user’s race, religion, or other protected status.” legally”.

The announcement also notes that Rumble wants to protect users from “bad users of the platform whose behavior discourages use of the service and who engage in unlawful discrimination,” with an emphasis on “stalking.”

Notably, the policy does not provide any guidelines for content that promotes hate groups. Nor does it appear to prevent hate groups or their ambassadors from using the platform – such as extremism and recruitment – as long as they do not post material that is per se discriminatory.

However, Rumble and the lawyers behind the new policy claim that the update will lead to a cleaner, more secure user experience. They do so with a long and often redundant explanation, crammed with restate right-wing grievances about “abolition of culture” and mention of “freedom of speech” nine times.

You can read the full ad over here.

Rumble, a Canadian company headquartered in the US in Sarasota, Florida, presents itself as an alternative to YouTube that is “immune to de-culture”. The platform receives 44 million visitors per month, New York times mentioned This year, despite the discontent of users and leaders about partisanship and politicization, he struck business deals with a number of prominent political figures.

Those numbers include Trump, Vance and Till, who have put tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates this year – including attorney Vance.

Rumble also has business relationships with former Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) through his office technology agreement With Trump Media and its social media platform, Truth Social. She also has a business deal with right-wing commentator Dan Bonino – himself a Rumble powerhouse – who took a stake in Rumble when A partnership contract in January with a payment processing company he co-founded Bongino. (Trump himself left Trump Media at sudden driving migration in June, along with former Trump administration official Cash Patel and his eldest son, Don Jr.)

Rumble’s claims that it is apolitical also directly conflict with the timing of Vance and Thiel’s investment.

Vance, through his fire company, Drove Rumble’s funding round with Thiel last May — about two months after Thiel put $10 million into PAC-backed Vance. In the deal, Narya’s partner, Ethan Falange, was given a seat on the Rumble board.

This made Vance and Thiel one of the first outside investors to Rumble, a fact Vance promoted in the election campaign.

At the time of the investment, of course, Vance was not an official candidate. However, old personal loan which Vance later submitted to the Federal Election Commission shows that he was in fact putting money into what would become his campaign, admitting retroactively that he had been acting as a candidate since at least that date.

And the date of Vance’s campaign loan, for $100,000, was May 19 – the same day as the Rumble announce Vance and Tell investment. according to Amended Financial Disclosure Declaration Vance introduced this past April, and he personally holds between $115,000 and $300,000 in the company.

But the investment came with a fair amount of criticism, with Rumble being repeatedly said to be a breeding ground for disinformation and extremism – which, combined with its growing popularity, has led experts on extremism to raise alarms.

About a week before Vance and Thiel announced their investment, wired Spread investigative report which found that Rumble not only gives misleading information to a home but constantly promotes it through its recommendations to users. New York times newly mentioned That “Rumble’s vision of democratizing online speech has so far attracted mostly people on the right,” including “many extremists who use their Rumble accounts to deny the efficacy of vaccines, downplay the horrific human toll of Russian aggression in Ukraine and question the legitimacy of 2020 elections.

Some of this content actually mentions Barnes, in his role as Jones libel attorney Sandy Hook.

Families of Sandy Hook victims have sued Jones over the persistent claim that the massacre was false science, saying the allegations sparked unfounded anger among his fans and led to threats to their lives.

Rumble itself has entrenched ‘false science’ narratives about mass shootings –Including Sandy Hook—plus several popular videos making similar unfounded claims about the recent attacks in Buffalo, Ovaldi and Highland Park. The site even manually picked one of those wrong tags Videos As an “Editor’s Choice”.

After the Ovaldi massacre, the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert that “the continued spread of false or misleading narratives” about the recent shootings could, in addition to other factors, “inspire individuals to mobilize for violence.”

However, Rumble editors have shown a file video This started with the user’s refusal of assertions that the shootings in Buffalo and Ovaldi were not false flags.

“Now you just need to avoid all the completely legitimate mass shootings, out of the woods, popping up all around us. Because it’s not entirely psychological, it’s not entirely false science, it’s just our new normal. Nah. FUCK ON,” says user This noise.” (Same rumble the account He posted a video after the buffalo was shot, which began with the attacker’s live broadcast.)

Spokespersons for Rumble, Trump and Vance – who have the Call Alex Jones “more well-known source of information than Rachel Maddow” – did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

But in March, a spokesperson for the Vance campaign said defend His investment in The Associated Press amid criticism that Rumble was hosting Russia Today, an advertising outlet Funded by the Kremlin.

“Rumble has consistently supported freedom of expression on its platform — even speech he may find offensive,” the spokesperson said, comparing the website’s philosophy to that of Twitter, which, the spokesperson said, “watches an incumbent US president while allowing the Chinese Communist Party in North Korea to and Ayatollah Khomeini (to name a few) to continue their propaganda.”

Rumble is still asking for user feedback on its proposed content policy. The site expects this process to end this year.

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