Alt-tech powerhouse Bitchute has grown exponentially, going from a humble volunteer project to a rising Youtube competitor. Yet after tasting a degree of success, it is now finding itself mired in controversy over betrayal of its founding beliefs.
While the platform itself is technically clunky, the key to its business model is their promise to protect political dissidents and not censor their speech.
But last week, members of the Sweden-based activist organization, the Nordic Resistance Movement, were shocked to find that Bitchute not only deleted all of the videos on their official channel, but actually put them on a “Proscribed List of Terrorists” alongside ISIS and Al-Qaeda. By placing NRM on the list, Bitchute can get around its promise to defend free expression by claiming they are an officially designated violent terror group.
NRM is not engaging in armed struggle and it does not have a militia, nor does it engage in terrorism. It is an above-ground advocacy organization that runs candidates in Swedish elections. The group does not hide its activities, and its actions are published to their website for everyone to see.
The main goal of NRM is to create a united confederation of Scandinavian nations through political, not violent means. The group takes painstaking efforts to obey the law and prohibits members from engaging in violence except in cases of self-defense, as “Antifa” groups often target them.
Bitchute’s designation of NRM as a “terrorist” group seems to stem entirely from a controversial ruling by Finnish courts to ban the group’s local branch. The Finnish government was pressured by Israel to ban the Finnish activist group in September 2020 after Israeli diplomats claimed their embassy was vandalized following an anti-war protest, even though the culprits were never actually identified.
Also on Bitchute’s terrorist list is Golden Dawn, the Greek nationalist group that until recently held 18 parliamentary seats and was the country’s third largest party. This year, Golden Dawn’s parliamentary bloc was declared a “criminal organization” and imprisoned.
Neither NRM or Golden Dawn are classified as terrorist or criminal organizations in the UK. British companies are not tethered to the rules and whims of individual European Union states. Bitchute’s choice to take away the voice of dissidents while they face unfair political persecution is selective and self-defeating, making the whole concept of free speech pointless. Last July, the Chinese government declared leaders of the Hong Kong protests to be terrorists, yet they are not banned from using Bitchute.
A spokesman for the Nordic Resistance Movement told National Justice that he believes Bitchute’s owner, Ray Vahey, is buckling under Jewish pressure. Last June a UK-based Zionist organization, the Community Safety Trust, listed Bitchute as a “purveyor of anti-Semitism” because it allows members to criticize Jews and discuss the Holocaust. The next month, Bitchute released a press release vowing to give Hope Not Hate — the British equivalent of the Southern Poverty Law Center — say over who can and cannot use their platform.
Bitchute has been able to grow largely thanks to support from political dissidents who groups like Hope Not Hate would love to see banned. Censorship is always a slippery slope, by shutting down legitimate political parties and parliamentary groups facing political oppression, Bitchute ends up being nothing more than a buggy and small version of Youtube.