BitChute Goes Out of Its Way To Host to White Terror and Anti-Vaxx Convoys
Note: SMAT includes links to extremely objectionable content. We understand the critiques of this behavior but do so to provide provable evidence logs for subsequent actions. Wherever possible, we provide archives instead of direct links or notes if otherwise.
SMAT, a public good and archiving service, is now indexing the platform BitChute. BitChute is infamous for being an alt-YouTube for white supremacists and conspiracy theorists. In this blog post, we analyze the trucker convoys as a case study to highlight the available BitChute collections. Additionally, we expose a particular case study in negligence: BitChute’s protection of a Nazi terror network and how it relates to their ongoing proceedings in the United Kingdom (UK). We found information showing that the neo-Nazi website Goyim TV hosts most of its content through BitChute and is being run by Jon Eugene Minadeo II, founder and member of white terror network, the Goyim Defense League (GDL).
BitChute knowingly and belligerently hosts white terror and public health mis- and dis-information contributing to serious risks of violence and mass death despite the legal and ethical imperatives to make reasonable content moderation efforts.
What is BitChute?
In a nutshell, BitChute is a right-wing friendly YouTube fork. It claims to use peer-to-peer technology but others have debated the extent to which this is true.1 BitChute experiences low resolution, bugginess, and lag, making it a less functional product than YouTube. There are also instances where a video won't play when clicked. Despite these technological issues, BitChute has grown into a substantial platform for right-wing content from particularly US and UK creators (based on analysis of popular accounts detailed farther down).
Founder Ray Vahey created BitChute, a UK-based company, in 2017 with the stated goal of creating a home for video content banned or restricted on mainstream video-sharing social media platforms. BitChute claims to take "a stand against excessive Internet censorship because we believe it is the right thing to do." BitChute makes extra effort to protect a wide range of bad actors. A likely reason for this is the ideology of their founder, Rick Vahey. Bellingcat, in reference to a Hope Not Hate Report on BitChute, states: “BitChute’s founder Ray Vahey actively promotes conspiracy theories involving antisemitism, COVID-19, and QAnon through the platform’s Twitter account.” According to Companies House records, BitChute has another director, Richard Jones, who lives in the UK, while Vahey resides in Thailand.
Past researchers highlighted the high prevalence and popularity of pro-Trump and conservative news content, QAnon and other conspiracy theory content, and white nationalist content on BitChute.2 SMAT data confirms that all top 10 creators on the platform produce such content. Notably, BitChute grew rapidly through COVID-19 conspiracy posters in 2020, especially from the enormous popularity of Plandemic, a documentary that promoted conspiracy theories about the pandemic and was banned from all major platforms.
Activists have long since noticed extremism on BitChute and put pressure on tech companies resulting in some limited actions against it. Since 2019, PayPal disabled BitChute's ability to integrate with its services due to the video platform's hate speech and extremism. Payment services Patreon, Stripe, and IndieGogo made similar restrictions. Despite PayPal’s integration restriction, BitChute failed to remove UI elements allowing creators to accept payments.
BitChute conspiracy channel containing a seemingly broken built-in PayPal button.
BitChute has a "Tip or Pledge" feature that merely consists of a button that hyperlinks out to other sites, typically SubscribeStar (a fundraising platform). The "Tip or Pledge" feature is only used by 2 of the top 10 most-subscribed creators.
OFCOM in the UK
BitChute is incorporated in the UK, which means they are susceptible to UK laws and have become the test case for the new British Internet regulatory body called the Office of Communications (OFCOM). OFCOM exists to support regulation requiring video service providers to “take appropriate measures to protect consumers who engage with these services from the risk of viewing harmful content.” OFCOM became more focused on regulating harmful content after BitChute was repeatedly reported for violations including Holocaust denial content. Much of this current stream of pressure and scrutiny draws from the initial report by a UK based organization called Hope Not Hate. The report details that BitChute is knowingly hosting illegal and hateful content and calls upon regulatory bodies, law enforcement, social media platforms, and service providers to create a united front against BitChute. The report reveals illegal and malicious content like videos promoting the banned terrorist organization National Action as well as content promoting the Islamic State.
BitChute and the “Goyim Defense League”
Another startling revelation has to do with the Goyim TV website: it is basically a content delivery network with neo-Nazi aesthetics and content focus. However, in the back-end it utilizes BitChute as the media host. If you dig into the source code or network requests on videos on Goyim TV, you will see they are seemingly mostly being hosted by BitChute.3 The website itself appears much like a fork of BitChute though BitChute uses closed-source code.
This fascist YouTube wrapper around BitChute is run by a neo-Nazi organization called the Goyim Defense League. They are famous for, among other things: cross burnings, blaming Jewish people for everything bad. Numerous members of GDL have been arrested for hate related crimes including Robert Wilson who was charged with an anti-queer attack on his neighbor, Franklin Barrett Sechriest charged with setting a synogogue on fire, and Joseph Bounds, who was arrested for not following police commands during a traffic stop while on a trip out of state where he joined other members in protesting a Holocaust education center while driving around in a swastika covered rental van.
There are multiple ways to verify GDL connections to Goyim TV including through the “Store” item which takes you to the GDL’s personal store.4 The store is every bit as bad as you can imagine or worse. Including content specifically designed to encourage assault of queer people, as their member did in real life. An additional way to verify the connection is through their now defunct (but archived) donation page:
A variety of payment options for “Handsome Truth” i.e. Jon Minadeo II
As prior investigative work has shown, this “Handsome Truth” figure is Goyim Defense League provocateur Jon Minadeo II. Between this donate page, and another website tying him, Goyim TV, and BitChute all together, we see a variety of payment processors implicated in playing host to nazis such as: Zelle and Cash App as well as a request for Amazon gift cards sent to his email.5 The crypto wallets that could be investigated (ie not Monero) yield only small donations.
But surely BitChute would IP block such a website and channels if they knew right? But they do know, at least about “Handsome Truth” being a neo-Nazi, because they block his account from UK IP adresses (though still visible on the rest of the site and through Goyim TV).
Handsome Truth videos banned from a UK IP address on BitChute
The Goyim TV website appears to have an obscure integration system with PayPal (likely broken) as well as a way to pay to “promote” content.
Payment menu items in Goyim TV
It is unclear if Goyim TV actually makes any money or has any functional services beyond having the UI code for it and any redirected sales to their fascist t-shirt store. However, the prospect of self-sustaining fascist YouTube forks is an alarming one.
BitChute has failed to IP block or send a cease and desist to Goyim TV. There is now an upload vehicle that is flooding BitChute with even more explicitly nazi content. BitChute has become a bedrock of an expansive nazi video echo-chamber and do little to nothing about it. Rather, they seem to encourage and protect it.
Terms of Service Mileage May Vary
BitChute outlines its Community Guidelines and claims to restrict certain content “likely to incite hatred against a group of persons or a member of a group of persons based on specific grounds” if the content does not qualify for one of their many exemptions. The platform restricts content considered under the Incitement to Hate clause, but only within the United Kingdom, the European Union, European Economic Area, and associated territories. The reason cited for restricting content in the specified geographic locations is Section 368E Subsection (1) of the UK Communications Act 2003 which pulls from Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Article 21 lists a variety of identity characteristics often subject to organized hate such as race, religion, sexual orientation, and disability. It goes almost without saying that it is simple to find content, visible from a UK IP address, that clearly violates these grounds. Interestingly, there is a Prohibited Entities List on BitChute’s website banning only three specific (fascist in nature) organizations. It’s also easy to find examples of these three organizations on the site: Nordic Resistance Movement, Order of 9 Angles, and Golden Dawn. Researchers who have studied and critiqued BitChute, such as Megan Squire, have been the target of harassment campaigns carried out on BitChute through videos featuring neo-Nazi Nick Fuentes. BitChute’s Content Moderation Policy makes no claim to take initiative to find problematic content via manual or automated means, offering only avenues for reporting content and appealing reports. It seems their users are not pleased with the existence of any moderation:
“Was this article helpful?” beneath their moderation page with almost as many down as upvotes.
Data Overview: Anti-Vaxx/Mandate Trucker Convoys
Our BitChute streams are broken into two different indices. One is for video (including title, channel, upvotes, etc) while the other is for comments on videos. At time of writing we have almost 700,000 unique video results and nearly 2.7 million unique comments. Here is an example JSON of comment data and here is an example JSON of video data both showing all the fields currently captured.
Just looking at some high level trends of the data yields eyebrow raising results. Of the 10 most upvoted comments, the vast majority are anti-vaxx specifically including claims that the vaccine is a bio-weapon and one antisemitic conspiracy post stating, “Be a good Goy and take the vaccine” implying a Jewish conspiracy to eradicate non-Jews. Another of the top 10 comments jibbers excitedly about a summary execution of a politician. Another interesting field is subscriber count. Among the highest subscriber channels are racist accounts: Infowars, David Icke, and Tim Pool who all have well over 100k subscribers.
SMAT Search for the BitChute comment “Be a good Goy and take the vaccine.” Note that searching for the word “goy” alone in the Search tool yields a huge array of antisemitic dog whistles.
Although it’s straightforward to use the public free SMAT tools to find examples of neo-Nazi and GDL specific comments and videos, as our case study, this section will focus on the current convoys and mass (super spreader) demonstrations against COVID-19 public health measures.
In the last 2 weeks alone there have been 3,173 videos containing the word “convoy” in the title. The most liked video being of a fight between protestors and counter-protestors. Among the most popular channels discussing the convoys are Tim Pool and other users with alt-right dog-whistles such as “red-pill” in their handles.
Users can recreate many of these types of searches using just our public free tools. For instance, using the Timeline tool, you can see the exact days that videos started pouring in with ‘convoy’ in the title (January 26-28th).
Graph showing abrupt surge in video titles containing the word convoy in the title on BitChute.
Additionally, you can see which users are posting the most videos containing ‘convoy’ in the title using the Activity tool:
Graph showing the accounts posting the most videos about the convoy on BitChute.
There’s much more to be found by digging more deeply into the data, especially via the API, and we encourage researchers to follow their own leads, curiosity, and expertise to dredge up stories from this muck.
BitChute Should Value Human Life
Though this YouTube fork, favoured by the neo-Nazi and conspiracy right, is clearly of growing and substantial influence, it still pales in size comparison to its inspiration. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in extreme content and an unwillingness to make even modest efforts to control it. The fact that they know they are hosting content promoting white terrorism, and not only refuse to comply, but make little workarounds to comply only in areas where their business has jurisdiction risks, shows an intense dedication to protecting content focused on inspiring terror attacks and hate crimes against minorities. In addition to this aspect, BitChute’s love of anti-vaxx conspiracy content shows that it is also a hub potentially influencing renewed outbreaks of otherwise vaccine repressed illnesses. Taking these risks, and others, into account, BitChute has a responsibility to uphold the value of human life which it denies even in its own Terms of Service to flaunt.
An easy way to recreate this without much knowledge of programming is, go to a video on goyimtv.tv, right click on the video, and click view source (i'm on firefox) and then just cmd/ctr-f for 'bitchute' and you'll see it. Put this whole link (including “view-source:”) in your browser and it might render it properly: "view-source:https://www.goyimtv.tv/v/2172760566/26th-GoyimTv-com-Livestream---Ft--The-Big-Sib---5-BANNER-DROPS-NATION-WIDE---1-In-CANADA-" Otherwise you have to 'inspect element' and go into 'network' as in the first screenshot. This was first noted by a SMAT community member (thanks anon!). Additionally worth noting that Goyim TV advertises on Telegram, where SMAT also monitors. It is beyond the scope of this article to determine if every video on Goyim TV are hosted by BitChute or what percentage.
The GDL website and store also use the web services Storefront and WooCommerce.