You knew it was bound to happen.
When GETTR, the free speech, “cancel free” social media platform officially launched on July 4th and immediately began to scale, it was certain that Big Tech and the mainstream media would get their knives out.
When the attacks came, they were predictably coordinated, brazen, and transparently driven by an agenda of self-protection and animosity toward the Make America Great Again movement, and more specifically, anyone attached to President Donald J. Trump.
POLITICO, the Washington, D.C., political trade publication, launched a strike on GETTR, declaring that our platform is a “safe haven” for Islamic extremists, as their initial, inflammatory headline blared.
The story was peppered with references to former President Trump and the Make America Great Again movement, leaving no doubt why GETTR was being targeted in the first place.
What POLITICO left out, and purposely obfuscated, tells a different story.
GETTR is fast approaching two million registered users, which is unprecedented growth for a social media startup. (For comparison, consider that Twitter needed 24 months to record its first one million users and Facebook took 10 months to reach that milestone.)
Among two million users, POLITICO cited a mere 250 individual accounts that allowed them to write a story that fit their narrative. Incredibly, they used the word “inundated” to describe the content this tiny number of accounts produced, even though regular users would most likely never even encounter their posts.
The impetus for the story was the work of the “Institute for Strategic Dialogue,” a think tank that “tracks online extremism,” according to POLITICO. The writers of the article admit this organization supplied the research that was the basis of the GETTR hit piece.
But what readers were not told is that the “Institute for Strategic Dialogue” is funded by a list of GETTR’s Big Tech competitors. It’s a team of heavyweights, with Audible, Facebook, GIFCT, Google, Google.org, Jigsaw, Microsoft, and YouTube listed as private sector funders of the Institute.
In short, POLITICO failed to disclose that the primary detractor in their story is funded by GETTR’s competitors in the tech and social media marketplace.
Readers of POLITICO’s piece were also left with the clear impression that social media giants Twitter and Facebook have dealt with the problem of Islamic extremist content and no longer have an issue with it. But even a cursory search of the Internet reveals that the struggles are ongoing.
Last May, the website TowardsDataScience.com detailed Twitter’s battle with extremists under the headline, “How ISIS Uses Twitter.” Late in 2019, National Public Radio ran a similar piece titled, “Twitter Struggling to Shut Down Bot and Impersonation Accounts Created By ISIS.”
Neither of these stories, nor the information they contained, were incorporated into the POLITICO piece to provide any context. Instead, readers were led to believe this was solely a GETTR problem.
To add insult to injury, POLITICO declined to include my full statement in their 1,300-word slam story. For the sake of getting it on the record, here it is in its entirety:
“ISIS is trying to attack the MAGA movement because President Trump wiped them off the face of the earth, destroying the Caliphate in less than 18 months, and the only ISIS members still alive are keyboard warriors hiding in caves and eating dirt cookies. Buried beneath a misleading and inflammatory headline, however, even POLITICO acknowledges GETTR has a robust and proactive moderation system that removes prohibited content, maximizing both cutting-edge A.I. technology and human moderation.”
GETTR is the marketplace of ideas, and users will not see their accounts canceled for expressing their political opinions. We do have a strong and proactive moderation policy that does not tolerate threats or intimidation; bullying, harassing, or stalking; homophobic, racial, or sexual slurs; encouraging criminal or illegal behavior; encouraging self-harm; sharing of another person’s private information; doxing; sexually explicit content; spamming; or content depicting excessive violence.
To combat Islamic extremist content is a continuous battle, as our competitors can attest, and much of the objectionable content on our platform was posted before our official launch.
But GETTR has made gains in the social media universe that undeniably make us a lasting player. We offer superior technology, with longer posts and higher quality picture and video features, and a better user experience, than many other platforms.
One hit piece in a Washington, D.C. Beltway rag isn’t going to change that, but it looks like Politico and Big Tech gave it a try anyway.
Jason Miller was a Senior Advisor to President Donald J. Trump during both the 2016 and 2020 campaigns and is the Chief Executive Officer of the social media platform GETTR