A world of fake news
When Donald Trump ran for president, plus when he was the 45th president of the U.S.A. and after he wanted to go for another term, the world was bombarded with lots of false messages, lies after lies coming out of the mouth of the one who had to be the leader of a great nation. His biggest weapon in his war against all who thought differently than him was Facebook. It was his open platform to bring all sorts of fake news. For spreading all those false ‘facts’ he could count on a lot of his republican and right-wing friends.
Following the furore around the Capitol Hill riots last year Mr Trump was banned from websites including Twitter and Facebook being rightly accused of inciting violence which led to rioters storming the Capitol Building. For Trump, who had seen 90 million followers hang on his 280-character missives, it was a huge blow to be banned from Twitter.
Soon after leaving office, Trump set up Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG), and hired Devin Nunes, the former Republican congressman who had spent years attempting to sue Twitter over a parody account pretending to be his cow and who tried to sue the FBI and the Justice Department for allegedly abusing their powers in an attempt to hurt Trump.
Free speech social network
Not easily satisfied, and certainly not when he got headwind, Mr. Trump, being silenced by the mainstream social media, took care he had his own “free speech social network” with the all saying name “Truth Social“. That got launched on February the 21, 2022, but was already struggling with teething problems after users complained they were unable to log in just hours after it went live.
Mr Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr in the middle of February had posted a screenshot of his father’s first message on Truth Social, in which he wrote:
“Get Ready! Your favorite President will see you soon!”
The Trump Media & Technology Group is led by former Republican representative Devin Nunes, who encouraged users to be posting more photos and videos.
“Truth Social’s profile page is a pixel-for-pixel clone of Twitter, which is funny because the premise of it is that it’s supposed to be everything that Twitter is not,”
one new user, a tech consultant Aaron Fisher, said.
In these times of modern technology, first impressions matter, and therefore Fisher said
I wonder if people won’t just be immediately put off.”
The system is nearly a copy of Twitter with the “retweet” button being replaced by “retruth”.
Trump supporters have every hope that this medium will finally put an end to all the false reports circulating on Facebook and Twitter.
Truth is going to upend social media. We will not sit by and watch our voices be silenced.”
Voices of Trump supporters and friendly politicians can now also have their say in another medium. Up to today they had the choice into Parler, Gettr, MeWe, Rumble and CloutHub.
The American alt-tech microblogging and social networking service Parler, is funded by Trump backer Rebekah Mercer, and stormed to the top of app charts after Trump’s Twitter ban, but after Parler was used to coordinate the 2021 storming of the U.S. Capitol it was stopped in its tracks when Apple and Google removed it from download stores, and Amazon stopped hosting the site. Until then it was the place to be for Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, conspiracy theorists, and far-right extremists.
Parler resumed service on February 15, 2021, after moving domain registration to Epik.
Former Donald Trump aide Jason Miller, communications strategist, political adviser and CEO, best known as the chief spokesman for the Donald Trump 2016 presidential campaign and transition of Donald Trump, until he left his position as Trump’s spokesman in June 2021 to become the CEO of GETTR, a micro-blogging social network with a conservative user base. Its user interface and feature set have been described as very similar to those of Twitter.
By November 2021, Gettr said it had almost 3 million total users and almost 40.,000 daily average users. As of February 2022, the company said that its number of users had increased to 4.5 million.
One of the website’s most high-profile users is the Brazilian politician who was elected president of Brazil in October 2018, Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro came into office on a wave of populist antiestablishment indignation stirred by the massive Petrobras scandal that had tainted much of the country’s political class. He like many other users of the platform established a reputation for outspoken advocacy of deeply conservative positions on social issues and was branded by critics as a misogynist, homophobe, and racist. some remarkable expressions of him are:
“I wouldn’t rape you because you don’t deserve it.”
“They do nothing! They are not even good for procreation.”
That feeling matched his frequently expressed intolerance of the LGBTQ community, which satisfied the prejudices of some of his supporters among conservative factions of Roman Catholics and Evangelicals.
Concerning the invasion of Ukraine he still refuses to condemn Putin, even as distraught mothers and fathers weep over their children’s coffins on the rubble-strewn streets of Kherson and Chernihiv. (He did, however, agree with the need for an “urgent ceasefire” during a phone call with Boris Johnson in March).
An other regular visitor of GETTR is Marine le Pen, the French lawyer and politician who ran for the French presidency in 2012, 2017, and 2022. She succeeded her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, as leader of the National Front (later National Rally) party in 2011 and seemed by the years having become more moderate and more able to stay calm in a debate. Though we may not be mislead, she is still thinking on the same lines and as the president of France’s far-Right National Rally she is in the company of ‘her family’ on that platform.
She also for a long time was against the European Union and held an admiration for Putin.
A notable absence on GETTR is Donald Trump – more notable, perhaps, for the fact that Gettr was founded last June by his former spin doctor, Jason Miller, after advising Trump to tell his followers to “go home” following the storming of the US Capitol building in Washington DC. He now finds himself in the unexpected position of having been tougher on the Russians than his Left-wing rivals at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Gettr, says Miller, has blocked all accounts from Russia and Belarus, in compliance with EU sanctions, after spotting “higher than normal bot activities”; and he expresses astonishment that Twitter is still playing host to the likes of
“Hamas, Hezbollah, the Ayatollah and the Taliban – and now even Putin in the Kremlin, but not President Trump”,
Warfare, #Ukraine and user growth
The Gettr app has experienced a 50 per cent growth in users in the past week alone, after Trump announced Truth Social, his own microblogging site, to encourage
“an open, free, and honest global conversation without discriminating against political ideology”.
The timing of the move has not been lost on Miller, who describes social media as a central part of the
“changing nature of warfare”.
Jason Miller says:
“We have gone from the first ever 24-hour cable news war, which was the Gulf War, which saw the rise of CNN and so on, but now we have literally up-to-the-minute [reporting] with these human, individualised, decentralised stories. The immediate backlash has been remarkable. The perception of the Russian army has been dismantled not so much by any particular fighting force, but by images of soldiers crying to their mothers at the end of a smartphone.
“I firmly believe that social media will do more to dissuade kinetic warfare in the future than possibly any amount of tanks or bombs or soldiers on the ground.”
In any case, the messages of Ukrainians sent via their smartphones are reaching abroad. By spreading text and image messages, the warfare in several countries can be followed closely. It is as if social media were breaking down the barriers and explaining the event to others faster than ever.
Putin’s good relationship with Trump is putting a damper on the credibility of many members of those right-wing drill systems that offer the Americans. Putin claimed to want to denazify Ukraine, but in his own country and among his friendly allies in the United States of America, there are more Neo-Nazis than in Ukraine. Ridiculous, it may be said, is the Wagner Group, Putin’s private army which he uses in Ukraine and other countries, a Nazism group.
Credibility and impartiality
For the party that stands so firmly for standards and values, Miller is not an impeccable person. Several court cases are hanging over his head.
At the Gettr site racism, anti-Semitism and terrorist propaganda can be found but Miler denies that Gettr is a safe haven for extremists.
“We have a smart and robust moderation platform using both an AI component as well as human moderators. And we don’t allow, for example, racial or religious slurs to be on the platform. We can’t host illegal behaviour.”
The site recently removed a white supremacist from the platform, he says.
“Our ideological North Star is to protect people’s free speech. By no means does that mean that every viewpoint is going to be met with a warm embrace. If you’re coming in with a crazy ideology, it’s not ‘powder puff football’ – I’m sure people will communicate that to you.”
Echo-chamber of American politics and Joe Rogan
In the echo-chamber of American politics one can also find the American number one hit podcaster Joe Rogan, who as other Trump fanatics loves a fight and is an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) color commentator, comedian, actor, and former television presenter, who does not mind bringing a lot of controversy. He launched The Joe Rogan Experience in 2009; by 2015, it was one of the most popular podcasts in the world, now regularly receiving an estimated 11 million listeners per episode. Spotify obtained exclusive distribution rights to The Joe Rogan Experience in 2020 for US$100 million. Parts of Rogan’s show are also seen on his YouTube channel, which has 11.7 million subscribers. A single advertisement on a Rogan episode will cost upwards of $1 million.
In 2022, Rogan became the subject of controversy for hosting physicians on his podcast who provided misinformation regarding COVID-19. He had found the way to Gttr but denounced it within weeks of joining.
Founded on principals of free speech
Several people started on “Gettr” because it had seen some large growth from prominent social media members like Joe Rogan and was supposedly
“founded on the principals of free speech.”
Some people also believe that GETTR may come closer to free speech than the other social apps. They say that
Gettr does not come close to the type of censorship that you will find on the Big Tech sites.
GTTR is backed by Chinese billionaire businessman Guo Wengui (Guo Haoyun) who became a political activist and controls Beijing Zenith Holdings (via proxies Li Lin and Jiang Yuehua) and other assets. Guo has been using an online misinformation network to promote the use of unproven treatments for COVID-19 as well as pushing conspiracy theories about vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna. And lots of Trumpists still do find Covid a falsity to get the people under control and to add a chip in their body to follow them everywhere they go.
Misinformation still seems to be one of the great problems of those right wing message applications. They may have it about “free speech” and about “telling the truth” but as soon as someone disproves this so-called truth and puts the real facts on the table, a lot of members suddenly go on the attack and the respondent has no chance to continue talking or commenting. Intimidation and calling names then still seem a favourite and strong weapon.
Back to social media thanks Truth Social
Miller is convinced that 20 per cent of domestic US Trump supporters quit social media when he was thrown off the platforms. He now believes that “Truth Social” is going to get more Americans off the sidelines and back onto social media.
“At Gettr, we saw 135 per cent growth when that happened. Every time President Trump talks about social media, we see growth on our platform. The pendulum on free speech is in the centre-Right at the moment.”
Miller is also convinced that we shall come to a new era where the government shall not be able to disinform the public as it did.
Trump, coming back again to run for president, shall have other “and better” platforms (according to the Trumpists) than Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, because now he shall be able to find even more friends on those new apps.
“Things are not going to get better any time soon for the Democrats. They are going to have a massive bloodbath in the midterm elections in November, when I think everything from immigration to inflation to Afghanistan to the Ukraine debacle will come into play. I think it’s only a matter of time before China takes Taiwan. That’s a when, not if. And just on a base competence level, Biden has been failing miserably.”
Trump in any case does not plan to go back to Twitter, but shall stay on Truth and probably hopes he shall find more backing from people on Gettr.
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