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J.D. Vance, Peter Thiel Invest In Free-Speech YouTube Alternative Called Rumble
The Rumble video platform logo on a smartphone arranged in Hastings on Hudson, New York, U.S., on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. Big tech's decision to ban the Parler app and block former U.S. President Donald Trump is stoking support for alternative social networking sites and apps that bill themselves as promoting free speech and privacy. Photographer: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photographer: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Venture capitalists Peter Thiel and J.D. Vance, author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” are reportedly investing in Rumble, an alternative to YouTube that is popular among conservatives.

As The Wall Street Journal reported, Narya Capital is the Cincinnati-based venture capital fund leading the investment. Narya was co-founded by Vance and Colin Greenspon, and by Thiel, who is also a Narya investor, “in a personal capacity.”

The amount of money in the deal was not shared, but a source familiar with the deal told the Journal that the investment was significant. Others close to the matter said it values Rumble at about $500 million.

The deal was finished last week and announced on Wednesday, Rumble Chief Executive Chris Pavlovski told The Hill.

“The purpose of the investment is to expand the rumble video platform and the service offerings for it. Allow us to go after different markets and expand into other markets,” especially non-English based markets, Pavlovski said, per the outlet.

“The second component of that is to invest in the cloud infrastructure and offer cloud solutions to businesses. We’ll be competing against other cloud services out there like Amazon Web Services and others. We’ll be competing in that space in the near future,” Pavlovski added.

Rumble is a social media platform that has gained attention from conservatives as left-leaning sites crack down on free speech in a discriminatory manner that excludes those who disagree with them. According to the Journal, Rumble was founded in 2013 as a platform for sharing light-hearted content, like videos of pets. Last fall, however, its popularity increased and it grew in monthly visits from 800,000 in August to 25 million in October, according to SimilarWeb.

“I’m really hoping that the market can look at us as viable competition,” Pavlovski said. “I’m hoping this investment will show that there can be competition, and we intend to compete, in a space controlled by very few companies.”

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and conservative Dan Bongino amplified Rumble and described it as a place that was more open to free speech than YouTube and Facebook. Big Tech has cracked down on viewpoints opposing the Left over the past several years, raising concerns amongst conservatives that they will be silenced. Parler, a conservative alternative to Twitter, was notably kicked off of multiple platforms earlier this year, including the Apple App Store.

On March 31, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) sent a letter to the heads of Google, Apple, and Amazon, asking them to clarify specific questions that the legislators had regarding the action taken against the Parler social network.

In the letter, the lawmakers said:

In just three days, Apple and Google effectively cut off Parler’s primary distribution channel, and Amazon cut off Parler’s access to critical computing services, leaving the company completely unable to serve its 15 million users. These actions were against a company that is not alleged to have violated any law. In fact, information provided by Parler to the House Oversight Committee revealed that Parler was assisting law enforcement even in advance of January 6th.

Last month, Apple approved Parler’s return to the App Store.

In February, The Daily Wire reported that Parler had attained new computer servers and continued its operations after being effectively shut down by several of the big tech companies in January.

The Daily Wire reported:

“We are off of the big tech platform, so that we can consider ourselves safe and secure for the future,” Parler CEO Mark Meckler said in an interview with Just The News.

Meckler said the platform will employ artificial intelligence and “human editors to police for illegal speech that violates its service agreement but otherwise is remaining true to its free speech, no censorship roots,” the site said.

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