Under the guise of anti-censorship and free speech, video-hosting service BitChute has become a hotbed for violent, conspiratorial and hate-filled video propaganda, and a recruiting ground for extremists.
BitChute founder Ray Vahey’s concept for the platform came from, in his words, “seeing the increased levels of censorship by the large social media platforms in the last couple of years. Bannings, demonetization, and tweaking algorithms to send certain content into obscurity and, wanting to do something about it.” Vahey’s vision has become a reality, and today, many of the YouTube accounts demonetized or banned due to community standards violations are migrating to his platform to disseminate their vitriolic content.
While Bitchute’s community guidelines specify that incitement to violence “will not be tolerated,” videos and comments calling for the extermination of Jews, glorifying violent beatings by police and anti-government militias, vilifying Black people and demonizing immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community and Muslims, proliferate freely across the platform.
The following represents a small snapshot of Bitchute’s vast ecosystem of hate and violent extremism.
BitChute as the violent extremists’ outlet
For white supremacists, BitChute is a safe haven where they can spread vitriol and recruit members. Swastikas and SS symbols are commonplace on the site, alongside videos praising Hitler. Across private and public channels in Telegram—the encrypted messaging app increasingly used by white supremacists—extremists share BitChute links of propaganda and conspiracy theories that comport to their beliefs. Further, many of these groups link to their Telegram and other social media channels in their BitChute descriptions.
The white supremacist group Patriot Front has three BitChute channels it uses to spread its propaganda and provide links to the group’s Telegram, Gab, and Minds accounts. The videos consist of montages of members marching in riot gear with torches, training in hand-to-hand combat, and hanging banners and fliers, calling on followers to “fight back” because “America is our birthright.” The group also uses the comments section of their BitChute videos to post recruitment links.