All Internet Observatory News Blogs August 12, 2021

Topologies and Tribulations of Gettr

A month in the life of a new alt-network
A collage of Gettr posts against a backdrop of a radiotelescope at dusk

On July 1, 2021, a new social network modeled after Twitter was launched by former Trump spokesman Jason Miller, with assistance and promotion by exiled Chinese businessman Miles Guo, form Trump strategist Steve Bannon, and others. Today, the Stanford Internet Observatory is releasing the first comprehensive analysis of the new platform. We chart the growth of Gettr over its first month, examining the user community, content, structure and dynamics. We also highlight some of the perils of launching such a network without trust and safety measures in place: the proliferation of gratuitous adult content, spam and, unfortunately, child exploitation imagery, all of which could be caught by cursory automated scanning systems.

 

Key takeaways:

  • The parties responsible for the site and app are not transparent. While Miller has distanced Gettr from Miles Guo, the app appears to still be developed by a Guo-linked development team.

  • Gettr appears to have exaggerated its initial growth. While it had moderate initial uptake, its growth rapidly declined. We find that Gettr reached 1.5M users in August 2021, while Jason Miller claimed Gettr surpassed this number in mid-July.

  • Gettr shows similar cultural demographics to Parler: far-right users in the United States and Brazil that were deplatformed by larger social media sites, as well as a sizable Arabic-speaking population.

  • Very few—if any—mechanisms for detecting spam, violent content, pornography, and child exploitation imagery are present. Gettr instead appears to be relying on a community reporting model, which has not proved sufficient.

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