The oligopoly dominating social media and the digital economy faces an emergent threat in the form of the newly combined Rumble and Locals.

Scott Bicheno

October 26, 2021

2 Min Read
Big internet served notice by Rumble acquisition of Locals

The oligopoly dominating social media and the digital economy faces an emergent threat in the form of the newly combined Rumble and Locals.

Rumble is a social video platform that positions itself in competition with Google-owned YouTube. As such it has also served as a haven for content producers frustrated by the restrictions, censorship and constantly shifting goalposts imposed by such internet incumbents. Inevitably that has resulted in the establishment attempting to characterise the platform as somehow intrinsically more harmful than those it competes with.

Locals is a social media platform that also seeks to provide an alternative to crowd-funding services such as Patreon, offering an environment in which content producers can develop a commercial relationship with their audience, a bit like a social media equivalent of Substack. We have our criticisms of Locals but unconditionally welcome the injection of competition into an internet economy dominated by a handful of US giants.

The decision by Rumble to acquire Locals, therefore, makes sense. The eventual result of the acquisition, the terms of which haven’t been revealed, could be a one-stop-shop for independent content producers, and even established brands, seeking an alternative to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Hopefully Rumble hasn’t made the same mistake as a previous social media disruptor of being too reliant on another member of the tech oligopoly for its infrastructure.

“We are building the rails to a new tech ecosystem that will responsibly free everyone from the restraints of editorial control,” said Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski. “Locals will provide our Rumble users a new way to generate revenue, one that is not influenced by corporate advertisers and special interests. All our creators can now build a direct stream of revenue with their audience through subscriptions, allowing creators to take control of their valuable content.”

“We are excited to see Locals continue our growth and vision as part of Rumble. Together we are building a new ecosystem for creators,” said Assaf Lev, CEO of Locals. “Becoming part of Rumble will give Locals’ creators new opportunities to expand their audiences while retaining control of their data. Both Rumble and Locals believe in the importance of allowing creators to express their opinions, interact with their supporters and make money from subscription.”

Locals was created when prominent YouTube producer Dave Rubin was so appalled by Patreon’s unilateral cancelling of one of its major users that he felt compelled to create an alternative. Rumble has been around for longer but seems to have a similar provenance. Together they have a fighting chance at breaking the unaccountable oligopoly that has come to dominate the Internet public square and the broader digital economy.

Here’s Rubin’s YouTube video discussing the news.

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About the Author(s)

Scott Bicheno

As the Editorial Director of, Scott oversees all editorial activity on the site and also manages the Intelligence arm, which focuses on analysis and bespoke content.
Scott has been covering the mobile phone and broader technology industries for over ten years. Prior to Scott was the primary smartphone specialist at industry analyst Strategy Analytics’. Before that Scott was a technology journalist, covering the PC and telecoms sectors from a business perspective.
Follow him @scottbicheno

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