A new breed of video sites thrive on misinformation and hate

BitChute and Odyssey serving up conspiracies, racism and graphic violence to millions of viewers. Taking advantage of Big Tech’s crackdown on disinformation and the rise of Trump, the sites reflect a new media universe — one where COVID-19 is fake, Russia is fighting Nazis in Ukraine, and mass shootings are undercover operations. false flag. From a report: A day after a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York last May, video-sharing site BitChute was amplifying a far-right conspiracy theory that the massacre was a so-called false flag operation, intended to discredit the Americans who love guns. Three of the site’s top 15 videos that day blamed US federal agents instead of the real culprit: a white supremacist teenager who had vowed to “kill as many black people as possible” before shooting 13 people, killing 10. Popular videos uploaded by BitChute users falsely claimed that COVID-19 vaccines cause cancers that “literally eat you” and spread the debunked claim that Microsoft founder Bill Gates caused a global shortage infant formula.

BitChute has exploded as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook tighten rules to tackle misinformation and hate speech. An upstart rival to BitChute, Odysee, has also taken off. Both bill themselves as free-speech havens and are at the forefront of a rapidly growing alternative media system that provides once fringe ideas to millions around the world. Both sites’ research into major news topics plunges viewers into a maze of outlandish conspiracy theories, racist abuse and graphic violence. While their following has grown since 2019, they’ve cultivated a devoted following of mostly younger men, according to data from digital intelligence firm Similarweb.