Former Trump Aide Launches Twitter Clone, That Seems To Yank A Ton Of Data Right Out Of Twitter; Already Has First Content Moderation Crisis

from the freeze-peach dept

Just as more news of what Trump wanted from Parler breaks, comes the news that his somewhat infamous former aide, Jason Miller, has launched a social media site called GETTR. It should be noted that through all of the rumors about Trump starting his own social network, it was usually Jason Miller who was claiming that it was on the way.

Apparently, though, Miller stepped down from his role as Trump spokesperson to run GETTR -- and there are reports claiming that the originator of GETTR is someone trying to build "an important link between China and the West" with GETTR and a series of related apps.

Separately, a Bloomberg White House reporter says Trump isn't planning on joining GETTR and is still planning yet another social network. So... we'll see.

Of course, like every single social media site, while this one claims it's all about free speech, its terms of service make it clear it can kick you off the platform for any reason whatsoever:

GETTR holds freedom of speech as its core value and does not wish to censor your opinions. Nonetheless, GETTR may, but will not have any obligation to, review, monitor, display, post, store, maintain, accept, or otherwise make use of, any of your UGC, and GETTR may, in its sole discretion, reject, delete, move, re-format, remove, or refuse to post or otherwise make use of UGC without notice or any liability to you or any third-party in connection with our operation of UGC venues in an appropriate manner, such as to enhance accessibility of UGC, address copyright infringement, and protect Users from harmful UGC. Without limitation, we may, but do not commit to, do so to address content that comes to our attention that we believe is offensive, obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, pornographic, violent, harassing, threatening, abusive, illegal, or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate, or to enforce the rights of third parties or these Terms or any applicable Additional Terms. For example, this may include content identified as personal bullying, sexual abuse of a child, attacking any religion or race, or content containing video or depictions of beheadings. Such UGC submitted by you or others need not be maintained on the Service by us for any period of time, and you will not have the right, once submitted, to access, archive, maintain, change, remove, or otherwise use such UGC on the Service or elsewhere, except that certain users may have certain additional rights as provided for in the Privacy Policy.

I like how they take phrases directly from Section 230 and insert it there. Though it's also amusing that they add "inappropriate" to "otherwise objectionable," seeing as Trumpworld has been trying to delete "otherwise objectionable" from 230 entirely, and limiting 230 to just a specific list of "bad" stuff. Yet, GETTR seems to be claiming even broader rights to moderate.

And, not surprisingly, the company is already, on its first day, dealing with some moderation issues as it appears that people trolling the site are flooding it with junk:

It turns out that every social media site, so as not to be filled with garbage, has to do some moderation. Though it'll be fun to square the views of people who insist that social media sites shouldn't do any such moderation with the need to clear out the "lewd anime pics and the "pig poop balls" meme" from the #QAnon tag.

But there are some other concerns as well. People are noticing that not only does GETTR look remarkably similar to Twitter (with a slightly larger character limit -- 777 characters), but that it seems to be grabbing a bunch of data directly from Twitter. Indeed, in what appears like a move to "boost" user numbers, reports say that if you use your own Twitter account name, GETTR will "import" all your followers -- apparently by creating fake ghost accounts for all of those accounts.

GETTR’s app also claims to offer new users the ability to “import copies of your content from Twitter to GETTR.” And evidence on the site indicates that the new platform is also allowing users to import their actual Twitter followers — who somehow end up with GETTR accounts of their own.

For example, Republican Senate candidate Sean Parnell in Pennsylvania, had over 175,000 followers on GETTR as of Thursday afternoon, despite only joining the platform Thursday. His follower count on GETTR is identical to his follower count on Twitter.

The same goes for Murtaugh, Trump’s former 2020 communications director, who had amassed over 220,000 followers on both GETTR and Twitter as of Thursday afternoon.

“Tweets are up to the point you join, it won’t continuously suck them in. The idea is we want people to move from Twitter to Gettr,” said the person involved with the app. The person added that the app does not harvest the users current Twitter followers for the app, and again noted it is in Beta.

I do wonder how Twitter will feel about that. Of course, to some extent, this is somewhat like the vision Twitter has for Bluesky, but that hasn't been implemented yet. And just pulling out all of someone else's data raises... quite a few questions. It does seem worth mentioning that the ACCESS bill that was introduced in Congress recently would require Twitter and others to allow such exporting of data to other services.

But GETTR seems to be going, well, to a fairly extreme level. To get images from Twitter... it's hotlinking images DIRECTLY FROM TWITTER. In other words, it's not grabbing those images, it's just displaying them as hosted by Twitter. That's... bold. In some ways it's just reskinning Twitter.

I don't necessarily think this is a bad thing. As I've discussed for years, being able to let users snarf their own data out of one service and into another is a good thing for competition. But... it can also raise a bunch of other questions regarding privacy, data control, possibly copyright, and (under the decision in the Facebook/Power case), possible CFAA violations. That is to say, I hope GETTR has some good lawyers lined up. The fact that they apparently fucked up their DMCA registration doesn't bode well on that front.

Anyway, I guess we're now going to see if GETTR gets to speed run the content moderation learning curve the same way Parler did -- and how it deals with content moderation and (better yet) questions around Section 230.

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Filed Under: content moderation, copyright, donald trump, hotlinking, jason miller, section 230, social media
Companies: gettr, twitter


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  • icon
    Jon Renaut (profile), 1 Jul 2021 @ 5:45pm

    Import vs the platform editing your import

    I noticed that some of the Tweets they imported converted a standard Twitter Retweet to an old style RT, which seems to cross a line - it's one thing to let a user recreate their Twitter feed on a new platform, but when the platform itself is actively modifying imported content to copy Twitter, that seems like a different action.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2021 @ 8:17pm

      Re: Import vs the platform editing your import

      converted standard Twitter Retweet to an old style RT

      There's only so many ways that you can display one person quoting another. Doing it in a way which is specifically not like Twitter does it (even if Twitter used to do it that way) can't really be called "actively modifying imported content to copy Twitter."

      Maybe "actively modifying imported content to differentiate from Twitter."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Jon Renaut (profile), 2 Jul 2021 @ 4:11pm

        Re: Re: Import vs the platform editing your import

        They took a modern Twitter Retweet and made it an old-style where you put "RT" and then copy the Tweet. Gettr calls them "posts" and "reposts" so putting "RT" makes no sense unless you're really bad at spelling.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2021 @ 6:04pm

    I expect much like Parler, Gettr will have an initial influx, then see people leaving in droves. Especially when they find that Gettr pretty impressed them without even giving them the king's shilling.

    And then? Gettr Done.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Glenn, 1 Jul 2021 @ 6:35pm

    "Free speech!!"

    ("Uhhh, mine, not yours.")

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 1 Jul 2021 @ 6:45pm

    'All those naughy bits gets in the way of a civil discussion.'

    'Other platforms should be required to host the most deplorable content imaginable, from bigotry of all stripes to anti-vax nutjoberry or worse otherwise they're censoring free speech, but our platforms are absolutely justified in taking down raunchy pics of fictional characters so as to avoid letting it be filled with terrible content.'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 1 Jul 2021 @ 7:11pm

      Re: 'All those naughy bits gets in the way of a civil discussion

      Correct, because in their own minds they are the only people who should have rights.
      Everyone else has more power than we have, despite this great amount of power they actually haven't managed to ban christmas, cancel someone to death, steal an entire election.
      We;re very upset we can't force them to just behave as we want them to, pretending they are as good as we are is unacceptable.

      Something something like when rich plantation owners complained about how hard their lives were compared to their slaves.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    spamvictim (profile), 1 Jul 2021 @ 7:29pm

    Why bother

    I looked a the ToS and really, if we can't post pictures of beheadings, what's the point?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    bwburke94 (profile), 1 Jul 2021 @ 9:47pm

    Of course, the most obvious reason not to hotlink images is that you might end up Goatse'd.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 1 Jul 2021 @ 10:31pm

    Should be called...

    Gettr, and Pay Her Off Later.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jul 2021 @ 10:33pm

    Getter sounds like Grindr for conservatives.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 1 Jul 2021 @ 11:01pm

    So, par for the course, then. They're not opposed to property rights and "censorship", they just don't like it when they're applied against them. They're all for full on fascism and communism if they think they're at the top of the heap.

    "reports say that if you use your own Twitter account name, GETTR will "import" all your followers -- apparently by creating fake ghost accounts for all of those accounts"

    I wonder what the implications are here. Copying posts and hotlinking images is one thing, but if they're sucking up personal details and photos? I'm opposed to enforcement against this type of thing in certain ways since the data is public visible, but if it's explicitly being done to create false advertising for the service, I'm not so sure.

    But, again, par for the course. They can't deal with not actually being popular on a particular platform, or having to do the actual work to build a new following, so they build a fantasy world where they appear popular, even if they're pretty much talking to themselves in reality.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bloof (profile), 2 Jul 2021 @ 2:17am

      Re:

      I've little doubt that the ghost accounts thing is so they can crow about how many users they have without actually having said accounts signed up for by actual human beings. It also makes it easier for them yo import the conservative AstroTurf botnets, though it seems pointless if their output only reaches ghost accounts.

      The whole thing is trump in a nutshell, fake it until you make it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 2 Jul 2021 @ 1:50pm

        Re: Re:

        "I've little doubt that the ghost accounts thing is so they can crow about how many users they have without actually having said accounts signed up for by actual human beings"

        Of course it is. The sad thing is that their target audience is too dumb to understand it, and that includes the influential politicians who might use it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 2 Jul 2021 @ 4:40pm

        Re: Re:

        Remember how mad the Right got when twitter cracked down on fake bot accounts and suddenly all their followers went up in smoke.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 2 Jul 2021 @ 4:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The self-called "Silent majority" has never been either, which is why they need sockpuppets to boost themselves.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Samuel Abram (profile), 3 Jul 2021 @ 1:30pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That's why they have to suppress the vote; because they couldn't win elections otherwise!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 3 Jul 2021 @ 2:33pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well, they really couldn't win on policy, and they seem to think that anyone who lives where other people live are automatically the enemy, so what else can they do?

              Here's hoping that after a long cycle of midterms being won by rightwing nuts because everyone else was too busy getting on with real life is reversed, and strongly enough to overcome gerrymandering and suppression. I fear otherwise, but if enough of the cult is convinced to deal with reality things might be OK.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Jul 2021 @ 12:48am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "Here's hoping that after a long cycle of midterms being won by rightwing nuts because everyone else was too busy getting on with real life is reversed, and strongly enough to overcome gerrymandering and suppression."

                Sadly I think your fears may become realized. The US as a whole woke briefly to rid itself of the loud orange parasite biting it in the ass, scratched itself, and is about to fall right back into sleep because who cares about politics when you've got bills to pay?

                There's some hope - now that too many republican representatives have torn their masks off during the Trump period they're finding it mighty hard to put it back on. The extremist alt-right is louder and more persistent than they've been since '68, And this all keeps the non-insane part of the US from going right back to sleep easily.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Tanner Andrews (profile), 3 Jul 2021 @ 10:42pm

        Re: Re:

        I've little doubt that the ghost accounts thing is so they can crow about how many users they have without actually having said accounts signed up for by actual human beings

        The mechanics will prove problematic. User A on platform A creates his new account on gettr. System imports and creates ghost accounts for his followers, including user B. Now, when user B (who would naturally follow A anyway) goes to create his account, the name is taken . He cannot log in using the ghost account because he does not know the ghost password.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 4 Jul 2021 @ 11:34am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "The mechanics will prove problematic"

          Only if the goal is to actually attract the people whose accounts they are cloning. If the aim is to fleece the rubes while pretending that they are in some popular realm, then claim it was "the left" who caused them to ultimately fail, it's pretty much on point.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 2 Jul 2021 @ 3:53am

    Anyway, I guess we're now going to see if GETTR gets to speed run
    the content moderation learning curve the same way Parler did

    Yup, at the latest when some well-meaning trolls sign up under popular right wing weirdos' nicks including their imported followers and use this semblance of legitimacy spouting off brand messags mocking Drumpf, QAnon and Co.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bloof (profile), 2 Jul 2021 @ 7:09am

      Re:

      I suspect they'll need authorised access to a twitter account for that like most 3rd party aps and services. Right wing sites being right wing sites, I've little doubt this will result in a massive data leak in six months to a year, with access to twitter accounts and contents of DM inboxes released or sold to.the highest bidder.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2021 @ 5:17am

    How do you get a Twitter account?

    Never mind--I don't have any reason to know.

    But in a free country, people can go to any site they want, no matter how stupid or useless. Let anyone talk rot there: I don't have to listen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 2 Jul 2021 @ 7:58am

    Appropriate

    I think the name the Rightwingnuts should use for their next app is EchoChamber.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 2 Jul 2021 @ 10:27am

    Anyone?

    Have a 1 sided conversation?
    Abit boring isnt it?
    Talking to yourself isnt easy to debate with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 2 Jul 2021 @ 12:12pm

    How much executive compensation is being earmarked as "development cost."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Lostinlodos (profile), 2 Jul 2021 @ 1:25pm

    Enemy

    Anyone against lewd anime pics is an enemy of the people.
    ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Jul 2021 @ 5:25am

      Re: Enemy

      "Anyone against lewd anime pics is an enemy of the people. ;)"

      To an increasing degree western governments, then. Think of the poor fictional children.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 2 Jul 2021 @ 5:48pm

    Howww bad is it?

    well my mothers house needs a new water line(outside main)
    Took the city over 1 year to get it moved closer(little things)
    Installed new Water meter in new location, and now to look for plumber to connect it.
    35' line and connect to the meter and inside home, 3.5 foot on ground.Total ground to dig out 22'.

    Estimate? $6000.
    ANd I live out in farm country. in a small town.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jul 2021 @ 6:39pm

    They say they are anti-CPC, but.... China! China China China Chiiinah! China!

    Did i mention also China? Because China.
    (These people are Asians, also.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 2 Jul 2021 @ 8:11pm

      Re:

      Always has been. Remember how Trump's economic and foreign policy practically handed the world over to China on a gilded platter.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Jul 2021 @ 5:27am

        Re: Re:

        ...while first claiming "Trade wars are good and easy to win" and later on coming crawling up to Xi Jin Ping with tribute in the form of a deal worse by far than what the US had up until then.

        Given the focus on US internal affairs he promised it's amazing how much US influence and power The Donald was able to screw up abroad.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
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