A social media site launched last month by a senior adviser to former US President Donald Trump, billed as an alternative to mainstream platforms, has become inundated with "terrorist propaganda" spread by Daesh (ISIL) sympathizers, according to a Politico review of its online activity.
The social network, called GETTR, features extremist material, including “graphic videos of beheadings, viral memes that promote violence against the West and even memes of a militant executing Trump in an orange jumpsuit similar to those used in Guantanamo Bay,” Politico reported on Monday.
The rapid proliferation of such material is placing the fledgling social network under scrutiny as it appears to be providing a safe haven for extremists online.
GETTR, a Twitter-style platform with posts and trending topics, was launched by former Trump spokesperson Jason Miller in late June as a free speech MAGA-alternative to Big Tech sites, after Twitter and Facebook banned the former president following the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
The Daesh terrorist organization “has been very quick to exploit GETTR,” said Moustafa Ayad of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank that tracks online extremism, who first discovered the extremist accounts and shared his findings with Politico.
Politico found that at least 250 accounts associated with extremists have posted regularly on GETTR, underscoring the challenges faced by Trump loyalists as they seek a “safe space” online, where they could express themselves without fear of being suspended.
GETTR has not signed up for the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism, which shares a database of extremist material with members so it can be quickly removed.
Extremism analysts who reviewed Politico’s findings said that the use of GETTR by Daesh supporters appears to be an early test to see if their content would escape detention or be subject to removal as they attempt to reach new audiences.
“The terrorist organizations are always experimenting, because they're fighting a real battle to continue to have access to public spaces to spread their propaganda,” Emerson Brooking, a senior fellow at the Digital Forensic Research Lab, told Politico.
In addition to terrorist propaganda, GETTR has become a favorite online hub for white supremacists in the United States, and features regular posts from mainstream conservative influencers like Sean Hannity and Trump’s secretary of state, Mike Pompeo.
GETTR was hacked on launch day as more than half a million people registered to use the platform, which has advertised itself on the Google and Apple app stores as “a non-bias social network for people all over the world.”
Trump, who had reached tens of millions of people on Facebook and Twitter before being de-platformed, had teased for months his team’s plans to start their own social media platform.
His blog, “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” proved a big failure and was permanently and quietly shut down in June, less than a month after its launch.