Former Trump spokesman Jason Miller has launched a new social media app aimed at people who challenge the way major social media apps like Twitter moderate content on their platforms. But it looks like the app has some serious hurdles to overcome to really compete with other traditional tech companies.
The app, called Gettr, was quietly released to Apple and Google app stores in mid-June, according to Politico, which announced the app’s launch. Gettr’s mission statement describes it as “fighting the culture of cancellation, promoting common sense, defending free speech, challenging social media monopolies, and creating a real market of ideas ”. Many hot topics on the app reflect pro-Trump slogans and sentiments, including #keepamericagreat, #defendfreedom, and #maga.
But despite the app’s ambitions, it appears to face challenges similar to those that other “free speech” social media apps, like Parler, have taken on since launching this year with promises not to moderate the app. content that users post on their platforms. For starters: at least for now, Donald Trump isn’t using Gettr – but one of the reasons these ‘free speech’ social media platforms have popped up in the first place is that they’re a backlash Trump’s January ban from most major social media platforms. Additionally, the app is in many ways an imitation of Twitter, it doesn’t yet have a lot of users, and it’s already a hotbed for blatantly racist posts that would be deleted on most other platforms.
Trump is clearly absent
Since Trump was banned from all major platforms in January for encouraging the U.S. Capitol Riot, he has suggested he wants to reappear on a new social media app that would allow him to say whatever he wants. This has left a major void in the social media ecosystem for Trump supporters, who are still active online but no longer have the former president’s regular tweets to share and respond to. In the few months since his ban, social media mentions of Trump declined significantly on Twitter and Facebook.
In early June, CNBC reported that Trump was considering joining Miller’s app, which has yet to be named. But so far Trump is not on the app and has not indicated he will join it. Bloomberg White House reporter Jennifer Jacobs tweeted that Trump was not planning to join Gettr and “will have no participation or financial participation” in the application. Instead, he still has “plans for a separate platform.”
And Trump reportedly turned down an offer to join Speak, a social media app for “free speech” aimed at conservatives, as the company refused to ban people who wrote negative comments about him, according to an excerpt from the next one. Michael Wolff’s book on Trump.
And Trump’s efforts to create a platform where he could interact directly with his supporters have failed to take off. In May, Trump launched a website called “From the Desk of Donald Trump” that looked more like a blog than a solid social media platform. The site only got a small fraction of the views Trump used to get on Twitter and Facebook. In early June, less than a month after its debut, Trump shut it down.
Currently, Gettr has over 1,000 downloads each in Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store, according to Politico – which is not a lot compared to major social media networks (Twitter recorded 17 million downloads combined on Apple and Google last month, according to data company SensorTower). That being said, the app is only in beta testing and hasn’t been widely released until today.
The app appears to be a Twitter knockoff
Gettr is a pretty blatant Twitter knockoff. Even his name sounds a lot like “Twitter”.
Just comparing apps side by side reveals their similarities: At the top of the two apps, Gettr prompts users to post by asking, “What’s up?” “; Twitter asks, “What’s going on? “. Twitter and Gettr both place their feeds on the left and their trending panels on the right, and Gettr offers users “verified” icons with red and white Vs that look a lot like the blue and white “verified” check marks on Twitter.
Gettr even allows some users to import their old tweets so that their Gettr profiles can mirror their Twitter feeds.
Twitter declined to say whether Gettr’s allowing users to import their old tweets into a new social media feed violated its terms of service.
Racist content is already in fashion
Already, overtly racist hashtags are all the rage on Gettr – highlighting a common problem with “free speech” social media apps, which have limited policies against hate speech.
Two hashtags with the word n already appear in Gettr’s trending topics, and they link to a host of anti-Semitic slurs and racist comments targeting black people.
Gettr did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Like a highlighted social media researcher, Gettr’s policies regarding permitted and unauthorized content are particularly vague. And the fact that overtly racist messages are already appearing on the app proves that its lack of content moderation will be a problem for the company.
So far, Gettr doesn’t appear to be the place Trump will make his long-awaited social media comeback. But this is another example of the anti-Twitter and Facebook social media platforms we’ve seen springing up in the void of Trump’s major media presence – and it shows how those platforms will struggle to keep up. established sites that promise to moderate harmful content.