Tag: youtube
How YouTube Encourages (And Monetizes) Rumble's Neo-Nazi Content

How YouTube Encourages (And Monetizes) Rumble's Neo-Nazi Content

YouTube is allowing right-wing and otherwise controversial streamers to use its platform to push audiences to their extreme content on Rumble, where they spread hateful rhetoric and misinformation and host extremists who are banned from YouTube.

Rumble is a video-streaming platform that has become an alternative to YouTube by allowing hateful and extreme content to thrive. The platform has recruited a cadre of content creators — many of whom are right-wing male pundits — to post at least some of their content exclusively on Rumble.

Streamers, including some of these “Rumble Exclusives” creators, often begin a stream on multiple platforms, including YouTube, before airing exclusive content on Rumble. Some tease that the subsequent Rumble-exclusive streams will include discussions of “forbidden” topics, seemingly trying to pique the curiosity of the larger YouTube audience and push them to Rumble, where they have fewer subscribers but there is less content moderation.

Media Matters has also found that some of these YouTube videos are monetized — meaning that the platform is profiting from them.

On YouTube, the misogynistic Fresh & Fit podcast urged its nearly 1.5 million subscribers to watch Rumble streams that included antisemitic and racist content: 

  • YouTube allowed the video to remain on its platform until July 10 even though Fuentes said during the stream that he does not “like race mixing” and that “women shouldn't be getting educated.” The show has 1.45 million subscribers on YouTube and over 200,000 followers on Rumble, and the YouTube video garnered nearly 200,000 views before it was removed.
  • Right before switching to streaming exclusively on Rumble on July 7, Gaines let the audience know that once there, they were “going to get into the Juliet Quebec, if you guys know what I'm talking about. Juliet Quebec coming up,” alluding to the “JQ” or “Jewish Question.” After transitioning over to the Rumble stream (whose title mentions that Fuentes “answers the JQ!”), one of the hosts immediately celebrated by shouting an anti-LGBTQ slur. They then set up Fuentes to fully launch into his antisemitic, white nationalist views. The Rumble stream, which went on for another hour and a half, has accumulated nearly 350,000 views on Rumble thus far.
  • During another stream on July 10, Fresh & Fit’s hosts and guests teased the upcoming Rumble portion of the stream, when Fuentes and far-right ally Sneako would appear. In the intro to the show, host Myron said that “Rumble is the savior here.” Sneako, who apparently introduced Gaines to Fuentes, has also been banned from YouTube. Fuentes and Sneako joined the show soon after the hosts ended the YouTube stream and continued exclusively on Rumble, and the full group immediately launched into debating the “JQ.”
  • At the beginning of Fresh & Fit’s July 12 stream on YouTube, hosts and initial guest Jon Zherka, a deeply misogynistic streamer, teased the subsequent Rumble portion of the stream and made comments about what YouTube would and would not allow. In both the video and the video title, Fuentes and Sneako are referred to as “the FORBIDDEN ones," who would be joining once the stream transitioned to exclusively Rumble. During the intro to the show, which was streamed on YouTube, Zherka seemingly shouted “Exodia,” referencing a Yu-Gi-Oh character known as a “forbidden” character, while simultaneously throwing his right arm into what appeared to be the Sieg Heil salute, a seeming nod to Sneako and Fuentes’ extreme and “forbidden” beliefs. YouTube profited from this stream, which was monetized.

Russell Brand and other “Rumble Exclusives” content creators regularly funnel their audience from YouTube to their more extreme content on Rumble

  • Russell Brand, who hosts a daily news commentary show for Rumble, with only portions of the stream airing on YouTube, regularly encourages his viewers to watch him on Rumble so they can hear him talk “without fear of censorship or strikes or any of that stuff.” He frequently uses this tactic to tease discussions of topics that he knows will be in violation of YouTube’s guidelines on COVID-19 misinformation; he has already received a strike from YouTube for violating those rules.
  • In one video on YouTube, Brand touted his Rumble-exclusive content as full of conspiracy theories. Describing his Rumble content, Brand told viewers that if they’re watching on YouTube or Twitter, “we’re going to have to leave you now, because we’re about to talk about something so controversial, and you are going to love it. I’m telling you, you're going to want to join us on Rumble. There's a link in the description. There are conspiracy theories, and then there's the mother of all conspiracy theories. There are territories that not even Alex Jones and David Icke dare not traverse for fear of the cluster bombs that accrue. We’re going to tell you stuff that is going to make your knickers go all unusual.” Brand’s show often features right-wing figures and conspiracy theories.
  • After being suspended from YouTube for letting notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones guest-host his show, Steven Crowder — another creator contracted with Rumbledeclared that he doesn’t “really want to be on YouTube” before saying Rumble is “the replatforming space.” On YouTube, Crowder's stream regularly flashes a graphic when his show is “not safe for YouTube” that encourages his audience to watch on Rumble.
  • After receiving a second content strike from YouTube, Crowder called for an “exodus” from YouTube to his Rumble channel, claiming he will be banned “if we do anything that, you know, is even remotely fun.” Crowder also teased that “it’s cultural appropriation month, which we would not dare risk doing on YouTube.”

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Prominent QAnon Streamer Turns Out To Be Registered Child Molester

Prominent QAnon Streamer Turns Out To Be Registered Child Molester

A QAnon streamer whose incendiary rants accusing Democrats of running a pedophile cabal earned him thousands of followers and led to his deplatforming on YouTube has been revealed to be a registered sex offender. David Todeschini, who goes by the name David Trent on his Net4Truth BitChute channel, was convicted of one count of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of second-degree sodomy, according to the New York sex offender registry.

Todeschini's real name and convictions were revealed byRight Wing Watch, which is dedicated to monitoring right-wing activists. The site was tipped off by Gabe Hoffman, who executive produced a documentary aiming to expose pedophilia in Hollywood, titled An Open Secret. Todeschini is considered a "level three threat," defined by the New York sex offender registry as "high risk of repeat offense and a threat to public safety exists."

The conspiracy theorist was 45 years old in 1996 when he coerced and sexually violated an eight year-old boy. Todeschini was convicted a few years later and sentenced to 28 months to seven years in state prison. He was released from prison in 2006 and has gone on to make a name for himself in the QAnon community.

The year prior to his release, Todeschini published a book he claimed exposes government secrets like "CIA drug smuggling, the JFK assassination, Operation Phoenix, Covert Operations, etc." A surprisingly prolific writer, Todeschini's works include a book purporting to teach readers to become human lie detectors and a book titled Psychiatry, Mind Control, Genocide, and Infanticide. Right Wing Watch notes that in 2006 Todeschini wrote a blog post defending Michael Jackson against child sexual abuse allegations.

Todeschini is a prolific streamer and frequently posts videos like "CABAL ARRESTED absolute proof" and "Epstein NOT Dead - on board his boat surrounded by military" packed with memes, rants, and outright threats to lawmakers. His latest show, titled "THE DS BS NEVER ENDS," was released the day after Right Wing Watch's report was published. Throughout the 46-minute video, Todeschini complains about the mainstream media, the trailer park he manages, and once again makes violent threats against Democrats. He does not, however, mention his registered sex offender status.

Person on phone holding a mask

It’s Better To Rebut Masking Opponents With Science, Not Censorship

Like many Americans, I do not like wearing a face mask that hurts my ears, steams up my glasses and makes my bearded face itch. And while I think businesses should be free to require face coverings as a safeguard against COVID-19, I am skeptical of government-imposed mask mandates, especially in K-12 schools.

At the same time, I recognize that my personal peeves and policy preferences are logically distinct from the empirical question of how effective masks are at preventing virus transmission. From the beginning, however, the great American mask debate has been strongly influenced by partisan and ideological commitments, with one side exaggerating the evidence in favor of this precaution and the other side ignoring or downplaying it.

Last September, Robert Redfield, then the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, described masks as "the most important, powerful public health tool we have," going so far as to say they provided more protection than vaccines would. In a 2020 New York Times op-ed piece, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asserted that "wearing a mask has been proven to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 by about 70%" — a claim that even the CDC said was not scientifically justified.

The CDC invited skepticism about the value of general mask wearing by dismissing it until April 2020, when the agency suddenly began recommending the practice as an important weapon against the pandemic. Although that memorable reversal supposedly was justified by evolving science, the main concern that the CDC cited — asymptomatic transmission — was a danger that had been recognized for months.

When the CDC changed its advice, research on the effectiveness of face masks in preventing virus transmission was surprisingly sparse and equivocal. Although laboratory experiments supported the commonsensical assumption that almost any barrier to respiratory droplets, including DIY cloth coverings, was better than nothing, randomized controlled trials generally had not confirmed that intuition.

A January 2021 review of the evidence in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" journal found "no RCT for the impact of masks on community transmission of any respiratory infection in a pandemic." The article, which also looked at observational studies, said "direct evidence of the efficacy of mask use is supportive, but inconclusive."

The authors then considered "a wider body of evidence," including epidemiological analyses, laboratory studies and information about COVID-19's transmission characteristics. "The preponderance of evidence," they concluded, "indicates that mask wearing reduces transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected respiratory particles in both laboratory and clinical contexts."

In a "science brief" last updated on May 7, the CDC said "experimental and epidemiological data support community masking to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2." But it acknowledges that "further research is needed to expand the evidence base for the protective effect of cloth masks."

Where does that leave Americans who are unpersuaded by the existing evidence? Banned from major social media platforms, if they are not careful.

YouTube recently suspended Sen. Rand Paul's account because of a video in which the Kentucky Republican said, "most of the masks that you get over the counter don't work." This statement ran afoul of YouTube's ban on "claims that masks do not play a role in preventing the contraction or transmission of COVID-19," which is similar to policies adopted by Facebook and Twitter.

While conceding that "private companies have the right to ban me if they want to," Paul said he was troubled by the fact that the leading social media platforms, partly in response to government pressure, seem to be insisting that users toe the official line on COVID-19. He has a point.

Paul's criticism of cloth masks was stronger than the science warrants, reflecting a broader tendency on the right to dismiss them as mere talismans without seriously addressing the evidence in their favor. But rational discourse entails rebutting arguments by citing contrary evidence instead of treating them as too dangerous for people to consider.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @JacobSullum. To find out more about Jacob Sullum and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com

Steve Bannon

Banned From YouTube And Twitter, Bannon Still Reaches Millions Via Apple

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica

Late at night on Jan. 5, the day before President Donald Trump was scheduled to deliver a defiant speech before thousands of his most dedicated supporters, his former adviser Steve Bannon was podcasting from his studio near Capitol Hill. He had been on the air several times a day for weeks, hyping the narrative that this was the moment that patriots could stand up and pull out a Trump win.

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