Rumble CEO Reacts to Being Banned in Russia, Unveils Pressures against Rumble to Censor

May 9th, 2024 4:54 PM

Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski reacted to Rumble being banned from Russia over its adamant free speech stance.

On May 7, Pavlovski addressed an X Spaces hosted by social media personality Mario Nawfal. During the Spaces, Pavlovski was asked to explain why his platform was banned from Russia as well as his company’s experiences with other countries demanding censorship. Strikingly, Rumble has been criticized in the past for platforming Russian media and was even forced to leave France after that country demanded that the platform ban Russian news programs. 

Similar: Russia Blocks Video Platform for Refusing Censorship

“One thing that’s really striking to me right now is if you guys remember back … two years ago, we were banned, well, we left France, they threatened to shut us off at the local level, so we decided to make the decision to leave the country entirely,” Pavlovski said. “And we did it because they wanted us to shut down Russian, news sources that come from Russia, so we denied that request, and we ended up leaving France. And every single paper in the United States and Canada covered how we were allowing Russian news sources on Rumble, and we were, they called me every name in the book.”

Pavlovski pointed out the bitter irony that Rumble had previously been banned for platforming Russian voices and that the legacy media, previously so critical of Rumble for being “pro-Russia,” is now conspicuously silent on Rumble being banned.

“It might have happened a month ago, but we confirmed that Russia has put Rumble on a blocked list, and we are completely inaccessible within  Russia entirely,” Pavlovski explained. “And not a single news source, not a single news source that covered us prior, what we did in France, is covering this situation.”

Pavlovski revealed that Rumble was banned after it refused to comply with censorship orders from the Russian government.

He mentioned that one of the accounts was banned over a marijuana related issue.

“Another account seemed to be some conspiracy channel, but I’m not sure because it was in a different language … and the other channel seemed to be an Arabic channel that was political in the Arabic language,” Pavlovski added. “Those were the types of channels that they wanted us to remove, and we didn’t see that they violated any of our terms of service, so we ignored the orders, and then they shut us off at the IP level.”

Pavlovski was also asked if he received similar requests from Western governments. While he denied receiving any direct orders, Pavlovski pointed out that censorship in the West is conducted using an entirely different model from traditionally autocratic countries.

“The way the U.S. market tries to impose censorship is by using media organizations to try to do hit jobs on your company,” Pavlovski said. “So they’ll bring up this person or that person or this piece of content, and they’ll write up a whole article about one video that they found on your platform out of millions, so the way censorship moves in America is through using media organizations. The media organizations are the entities that push censorship across all the Big Tech platforms.”

He added that “the Big Tech platforms are scared shitless of the media organizations, and that’s what gets them to buckle.”

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