SEC Closes Investigation Into Rumble Video-Sharing Platform Without Enforcement Action

SEC Closes Investigation Into Rumble Video-Sharing Platform Without Enforcement Action
The seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is seen at their headquarters in Washington, on May 12, 2021. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Ryan Morgan

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has closed an investigation into Rumble Inc. without a decision to take enforcement actions against the video-sharing platform.

Wired magazine first reported that the SEC was actively investigating Rumble in January. Responding to Wired’s Freedom of Information request about the video platform, SEC attorney Melinda Hardy told the publication that “the investigation from which you seek records is still active and ongoing.”

While Ms. Hardy provided few additional details about the nature of the investigation, Wired noted an April 2023 report by a firm called Culper Research that alleged Rumble was inflating its user metrics.

Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski took to social media on Feb. 21, sharing an image of a Feb. 20 letter the company had received from SEC Assistant Regional Director Sarah Mallett, notifying the company that SEC investigators “have concluded the investigation as to Rumble Inc.”

“Based on the information we have as of this date, we do not intend to recommend an enforcement action by the commission against Rumble Inc.,” Ms. Mallett’s letter adds.

Mr. Pavlovski cited the SEC letter in calls for Wired to update its prior reporting about the company.

Ms. Mallett’s Feb. 20 letter stops short of outright clearing Rumble of any wrongdoing.

“We are providing this notice under the guidelines set out in the final paragraph of Securities Act Release No. 5310, which states in part that the notice ’must in no way be construed as indicating that the party has been exonerated or that no action may ultimately result from the staff’s investigation,'” the SEC official told Rumble.

Rumble officials didn’t respond by press time to a request by NTD News for further comment about the agency’s clearance.

CEO Alleges Activists Targeted Rumble With ‘Bogus’ Claims

Rumble, which was formed in Canada in 2013, has grown in prominence in recent years, positioning itself as a competitor to YouTube that places more emphasis on free speech and resists pressure to censor content creators.

In 2021, Rumble acquired the content creator subscription-service provider Locals Technology Inc. The video-sharing platform has also partnered with former President Donald Trump’s media company, the Trump Media & Technology Group, to provide video and streaming capabilities to the Truth Social platform.

Rumble also acquired the exclusive streaming rights for the third Republican National Committee presidential debate in November 2023.

Mr. Pavlovski asserted that there was a coordinated effort to undermine his video-sharing platform after news of the SEC investigation broke last month.

“A short seller creates a bogus report and sends it to the SEC. The SEC investigates the bogus report,” Mr. Pavlovski wrote in a Jan. 8 post on social media platform X. “Then the short seller talks to the media to get a story about how the SEC is investigating the report that started with him. The media happily writes the story.”

Culper Research, the firm that alleged Rumble may be inflating its user metrics, describes itself as an investigative investment research firm that works “to expose companies which have misrepresented their operations, failed to disclose significant risks, misused capital, possess accounting irregularities, or otherwise deceived investors.”

Culper Research also touts being recognized as a top five activist short seller by Activist Insight in 2021.

Mr. Pavlovski said Rumble predicted efforts to discredit its user metrics and chose to use Google Analytics to track and report the key user metrics prior to going public.

“They can’t stand Rumble’s mission, but they are going to learn quickly how hard we punch back,” the Rumble CEO wrote last month.

The SEC declined to comment to NTD News about its now-concluded investigation of Rumble.

It’s unclear what role, if any, the Culper Research report on Rumble’s user metrics had on the SEC’s decision to investigate the video-sharing platform.