What is Gettr? Team Trump’s new platform tied to a Chinese billionaire and Steve Bannon

MAGA social media app boasts a Twitter-like dashboard and similar features

Louise Hall
Friday 02 July 2021 16:37
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Trump tells supporters ‘We will never back down’

Members of Donald Trump’s inner circle have recently launched a new social media website in another attempt to counter Big Tech, which conservative claim, without evidence, is biased against them..

And while its MAGA-friendly packaging may be brand new, reports have revealed that the platform has a mysterious history as a site used by opponents of the Chinese Communist Party.

So what actually is the platform, and why has it been created?

What is Gettr?

The newly launched social media website is billed on app stores as a “non-bias social network for people all over the world”, Politico first reported.

The outlet said that the new site was released on Thursday, but is currently in beta form and is set to be officially launched on 4 July 10am.

The platform boasts a Twitter-like dashboard with trending topics and many other similar features including 777 characters-long post component.

Upon signing up, the site even stipulates that if you “use the same username that you use on Twitter, you may be able to import copies of your content from Twitter to Gettr.”

On app stores, the platform is rated “M” for mature and is recommended for users aged 17 and older.

A person working on the app told Politico that it will host videos up to three minutes in length, and will also be capable of hosting livestreams.

Where did it come from?

The platform is being led by Mr Trump’s former spokesman, Jason Miller, and former Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh is also reported to be involved as a consultant on the app.

Politico revealed on Thursday that the app had previously existed as a Chinese-language social media network for nearly a year, boasting content in opposition to the Chinese Communist Party.

The platform is reported to have ties to exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, who is a known ally of former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

The Daily Beast, which first reported the billionaire’s connection, revealed that the platform’s leader Jason Miller received initial funding from a foundation owned by Mr Guo and his family.

Mr Miller told The Daily Beast that Mr Guo isn’t a direct investor in the platform and does not have a “formal role” in its company.

The outlet reported that Mr Guo had encouraged users to back up their data on the existing site on Tuesday before it was wiped and then re-released as the “cancel-free” platform on Thursday.

Prior advertising for the app reportedly included logos from G-TV Media Group, which is a media company owned by Mr Bannon and Mr Guo.

Broadcasters within the company, G-TV and GNEWS, which had also been included in previous advertising for Gettr, have been known for pushing disinformation concerning the pandemic.

Is Trump involved?

Mr Trump’s involvement with the project is unclear. It is also not apparent whether Mr Trump will set up an account on the site.

Bloomberg reported that an unnamed person familiar with the situation said that the former president isn’t involved and has no plans to join.

The Independent contacted Mr Miller to clarify Mr Trump’s involvement.

“The former president is going to make his own decision, it’s certainly there and ready for him should he make the decision – we would welcome that,”  a person involved with the app told Politico.

They added: “There is an account reserved for him and waiting for him but that’s a decision for him to make.”

Why has Gettr been started?

Gettr is one of a host of attempts from right-wing figures, namely those in Mr Trump’s circle, to undermine big tech companies, who they argue are attempting to censor their opinions.

The venture’s also come after the former president was banned from using major social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook as a result of the 6 January insurrection.

There has been a lot of speculation, often bolstered by Mr Trump himself, that he would be interested in helping to establish a new rival platform.

This was also seen in his previous attempt to launch his own personal “communications platform” named “From the Desk of Donald J Trump”, which was widely mocked as a blog.

The platform’s readership flopped and Mr Trump’s team shut down the blog after less than a month.

Are people using Gettr?

According to Politico, the app has been downloaded more than one thousand times on Google and Apple app stores respectively after being available to download since the middle of June.

The outlet said that initial trending topics on the app included the hashtags “#trump,” “#virusorigin” and “#nra” giving an insight into its current users and target audiences.

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