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In May 2021, the site was reportedly valued at an estimated $500 million. In September 2022, Rumble became a publicly traded company listed on the Nasdaq as part of a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) deal. Its valuation currently exceeds $1.2 billion.

In April 2023, investment research firm Culper Research released a report expressing skepticism about the legitimacy of Rumble’s claimed monthly active user (MAU) counts, a key metric for investors to evaluate the performance of a social media company. Culper Research said it had taken a short position in Rumble, meaning it stands to profit if Rumble’s stock price decreases.

“Combined, the web and app data suggest to us that Rumble has only 38 to 48 million unique users, and the Company has overstated its user base by 66% to 108%,” Culper Research claimed in its report.

In a quarterly earnings call following the report’s publication, Rumble reported that its monthly active users declined by 40 percent during the first three months of 2023, from 80 million to 48 million. In a financial filing, Rumble attributed the decrease in users to its popular creators being less active on the platform in the first part of 2023, and news events slowing down following the 2022 midterm elections.

“Investors should be especially dubious of rumors peddled by short-sellers who are attempting to distort facts for their own financial benefit. We are aware of misleading claims about Rumble’s monthly active user (MAU) statistics, which, as we have previously disclosed, are provided by Google Analytics,” Rumble spokesperson Rumore says. “Any suggestion that Rumble has inflated its MAUs is false—as any objective person quickly realizes upon even a cursory review of the data.”

Christian Lamarco, the founder of Culper Research, believes the change in reported users was a response to its report. “That was a bit of validation, in my view,” he says.

Updated 5:45 pm ET, January 8, 2024: Immediately following publication, Chris Pavlovski, Rumble’s founder and CEO, said in a post on X that the SEC investigation was part of “the playbook to try and destroy” the company.

“A short seller creates a bogus report and sends it to the SEC. The SEC investigates the bogus report. 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,” Pavlovski wrote. “The report is bogus, but that doesn’t matter—it’s all to get investors to sell the stock so the short seller profits.”

Pavlovski added that the company used Google Analytics to track user metrics “so we could be ready for this very moment.”