After then-President Donald Trump led a failed coup in Washington, multiple social media companies-including Trump's favorite of them all: Twitter-booted him from their platforms. Now, nearly a year since the Jan. 6 riot, the ex-president and current leader of the GOP is one step closer to getting his revenge on Big Tech.
Thus far, Trump's attempts to create a MAGA-media alternative have proved either fruitless or spectacularly embarrassing. But there's reason to believe Trump is closer than ever to his dream of a Trumpy social network; he's been privately discussing the option of teaming up with Rumble, a right-wing YouTube-wannabe based in Canada.
According to email and server records, it appears Rumble and Trump's still-to-be-launched social media app, Truth Social, are already sharing some infrastructure, with Rumble hosting a mail server for Trump's planned app.
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In recent months, Rumble and the twice-impeached former president's social media venture have been in talks about a potential business partnership, according to two people familiar with the matter. One of these sources, who has spoken to Trump about the prospect, said the former president has repeatedly inquired about how much Rumble could pay him-and has bragged that whatever Rumble offers, his partnership would be worth "double that," given his massive fanbase of conservatives and Republican voters.
Spokespersons for Rumble and Truth Social did not respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast.
Trump's nascent media parent company-Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG)-is already in the process of going public and has been valued at over a billion dollars, according to Reuters. Rumble, which announced it would go public on Wednesday, is valued at around $2.1 billion.
Trump joined Rumble in June, marking the former president's first new account at a social media company since Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube suspended him in the wake of the Capitol insurrection. His son, Donald Trump Jr., joined Rumble in February and has made the channel his primary source for hosting videos of his Fox News appearances and short rants on issues in the news.
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Trump announced the creation of a new social media company, Truth Social, in October. The app is one pillar of the Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), an aspiring "media powerhouse to rival the liberal media consortium and fight back against the 'Big Tech' companies of Silicon Valley," according to a pitch deck from the conglomerate.
In addition to the accounts of a possible partnership between Truth Social and Rumble, The Daily Beast found evidence of some limited cooperation between the two companies in email records, which show a mail server for Truth Social hosted at an IP address in Florida owned by Rumble.
Andrew Morris, founder and CEO of the cybersecurity firm GreyNoise, reviewed The Daily Beast's findings.
"There's overlap. Rumble is hosting a Truth Social mail server," Morris said. "The server is not in use but it is a valid one. This email domain name was set up by the operators of Truth Social and it was in collaboration with Rumble."
As social media platforms have cracked down on election and COVID-19 disinformation, conservatives offended by content moderation have sought to build their own alternative facts ecosystem, with lookalike apps like Parler, backed by the wealthy Mercer family, and Gettr, a Twitter clone run by former Trump spokesman Jason Miller and funded by the fugitive Chinese billionaire and conservative donor Guo Wengui.
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But even among a crowded field of right-wing apps, Rumble has become a darling of prominent conservatives in elected office and media.
The app has attracted financing from deep-pocketed Republicans like Ohio senate hopeful J.D. Vance, as well as former Trump adviser and billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel.
Initially founded in 2013, the company has grown in popularity among conservatives since Trump took office.
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made a point of welcoming the company to Sarasota after Rumble announced it would move its headquarters there from Toronto in November. He has cut down on the number of videos his office uploads to YouTube in favor of posting them to the governor's Rumble channel.
California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes and conservative talk show host (and Trump pal) Dan Bongino were among the first MAGA figures to join Rumble as content creators. But the company has since expanded its list of paid contributors to include a range of right-wing pundits and pro-Trump media figures, like Glenn Greenwald, former Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, former Washington Examiner columnist Siraj Hashmi, and others.
CEO Chris Pavlovski described the founding of the platform in 2013 as an attempt to take on Goliaths of the tech industry like YouTube.
"They built these platforms on the back of our aunts and uncles, and by 2013, they started emphasizing these [Multi-Channel Networks], a lot of the big creators, icons, big brands, et cetera," Pavlovski said in a July podcast appearance. "We built Rumble in 2013 to bring back the distribution and monetization to the small creator."
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