Two major alternative social media platforms focused on free speech and data portability, YouTube rival Rumble and content subscription service Locals, will combine forces Tuesday to provide online users a new way to interact and make money without fear of being canceled.
Popular commentators affiliated with Rumble, including Dan Bongino and Glenn Greenwald, will be joining Locals, adding to other prominent content creators already on the platform, such as former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, cartoonist and creator of the Dilbert comic strip Scott Adams, and media personality Dr. Drew.
Locals has over 1 million active users, while Rumble has over 40 million.
The two platforms will keep their own websites but share their online communities and data operations to allow users to enjoy a host of new features while promising few content restrictions and higher margins for content creators than offered by Big Tech platforms, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
“Cancel culture is the obvious reason we’re starting this,” said Bongino, who helped broker the deal between the two platforms. “I thank the cancel culture folks because they're incentivizing this and the next generation of creators to bypass the middleman of Big Tech platforms and streaming services.”
“Believe me, you’re not getting a better deal out there as a content creator moneywise. Locals needs content creators to succeed — that’s not the case with Facebook or others,” he told the Washington Examiner.
Although Rumble and Locals have content moderation policies banning the incitement of violence, illegal content, racism, antisemitism, terrorist groups, and copyright violations, they pledge not to policy online conversations on politically controversial subjects, such as vaccine efficacy, the origins of COVID-19, and transgender identities.
A key feature of the two platforms is that content creators own their subscriber data and their content, which is not true for those who have built large followings on Facebook and YouTube.
“Your subscribers are yours forever, the user data and contact information is yours, and we’re the only social media that allows that so you won’t lose your audience even if you leave us,” Chris Pavlovski, the CEO of Rumble, told the Washington Examiner.
“This forces Rumble and Locals to treat content creators well because you can leave us at any point with your audience and content intact,” Pavlovski said.
Locals said that issues such as misinformation, hate speech, and other hurtful and divisive content that have plagued Facebook and YouTube have not and will not be a problem on its platform because of its paywall.
“Locals is subscription-based, so in order to interact with content on the site, there is minimum $3/month paywall, and that cleans up 99.9% of any bad behavior,” Dave Rubin, the founder of Locals and a prominent conservative commentator, told the Washington Examiner.
Rubin said that unlike other social media apps that have stringent platformwide content moderation policies, content creators on Locals have much more control in their respective communities over what their subscribers can and can’t say.
“Something is not right with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others, and we all know that, which is why it’s so important to build a parallel network," Rubin said. "Companies standing up for free speech are so needed right now.”