New Breed of Video Sites Thrives on Misinformation and Hate – Slashdot

BitChute and Odysee serve up conspiracies, racism and graphic violence to millions of viewers. Taking advantage of Big Tech disinformation crackdowns and the rise of Trump, the sites reflect a new media universe — one where COVID-19 is fake, Russia fights Nazis in Ukraine, and mass shootings are ‘false flag’ operations. From a report: A day after a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York last May, the video-sharing website BitChute was amplifying a far-right conspiracy theory that the massacre was a so-called false flag operation, meant to discredit gun-loving Americans. Three of the top 15 videos on the site that day blamed U.S. federal agents instead of the true culprit: a white-supremacist teenager who had vowed to “kill as many blacks as possible” before shooting 13 people, killing 10. Other popular videos uploaded by BitChute users falsely claimed COVID-19 vaccines caused cancers that “literally eat you” and spread the debunked claim that Microsoft founder Bill Gates caused a global baby-formula shortage.

BitChute has boomed as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook tighten rules to combat misinformation and hate speech. An upstart BitChute rival, Odysee, has also taken off. Both promote themselves as free-speech havens, and they’re at the forefront of a fast-growing alternative media system that delivers once-fringe ideas to millions of people worldwide. Searching the two sites on major news topics plunges viewers into a labyrinth of outlandish conspiracy theories, racist abuse and graphic violence. As their viewership has surged since 2019, they have cultivated a devoted audience of mostly younger men, according to data from digital intelligence firm Similarweb.

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