Rumble: ‘active and ongoing’ SEC investigation into video platform

Rumble, the online video-hosting platform that claims to be a free speech YouTube alternative, is reportedly under investigation by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to WIRED, the SEC confirmed the investigation after a public records request by the news organization in November. It had denied the request on the grounds that an “active and ongoing” inquiry was taking place in relation to the company. The response follows claims made against the company including that it allegedly inflated certain metrics, which Rumble denies.

Following the announcement, founder Chris Pavlovski posted on X that the “report is bogus.” He said the company had proof in the form of Google Analytics to track monthly active users and criticized the move as a tactic “to get investors to sell the stock so that the short seller profits.”

“This is just the start, they’re coming for us in 2024. They can’t stand Rumble’s mission, but they are going to learn quickly how hard we punch back,” he added while stating he was exploring legal options to “hold short sellers accountable.”

The SEC, however, noted that the probe did not necessarily mean “any violations of law have occurred with respect to any person, entity, or security.” As a result, the exact nature of the investigation is unclear.

Melinda Hardy, the SEC’s assistant general counsel for litigation and administrative practice, confirmed the investigation in a letter sent on January 8th. Hardy further explained that releasing the documents could potentially harm the ongoing and active proceedings. She noted that this could happen because individuals and entities involved in the investigation might fabricate evidence, tamper with witness testimony, or destroy or modify relevant documents.

What has Rumble said?

Rumble spokesperson Rory Rumore responded to the allegations saying the company provided information to the SEC voluntarily and cautioned against anyone from jumping to false conclusions.

Rumble’s legal challenges

It is not the first time Rumble has become involved with legal matters. In November, the platform filed a lawsuit against two people connected to Media Matters. Rumble’s court filings state that two individuals who ran ‘Check My Ads’ created fake profiles, sought out objectionable user-uploaded videos, and refreshed the pages multiple times until they could capture screenshots showing ads from high-profile brands next to the offending content. This data was subsequently utilized by Media Matters in a campaign urging major brands to steer clear of Rumble.

Who are Rumble’s investors?

The video network is backed by billionaire Peter Thiel, which became a publicly traded company in 2022. “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance is also an investor, along with Colt Ventures, the family office of Dallas investor and former Trump adviser Darren Blanton. Its valuation currently exceeds $1.2 billion.

The platform was founded in 2013 by the Canadian entrepreneur, and posits itself as an alternative to “cancel culture.” In a statement on the website, Pavlovski wrote: “We are a movement that does not stifle, censor, or punish creativity and freedom of expression. We believe everyone benefits when they have access to more ideas and diverse opinions.”

Featured Image: Canva / Rumble / U.S. Government

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