Why Gettr Is Struggling to Get Traction (or Trump to Sign Up)

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Donald Trump has not joined the MAGA-friendly Twitter alternative, even with a nine-figure offer on the table

jason miller gettr
Photos: Getty Images, Gettr

Less than a year since launching, the MAGA-friendly social app Gettr seems to be fraught with issues, from conservatives slamming the company’s practices to a lack of influential users.

The Twitter lookalike, founded last summer by former Donald Trump aide Jason Miller, has pitched itself as a site “rejecting political censorship” and cancel culture. The app is among many of the new platforms that have sprung up as conservative figures, from the former president to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, continue to get suspensions or bans by Silicon Valley social media giants over violations of content policies — whether it’s repeating threats of violence or spreading misinformation about COVID.

It is unclear just how big alternate social media sites, such as Parler, Gab and Rumble, will become. They are certainly no match when it comes to the reach of Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Gettr has 1.9 million daily users, a fraction of Twitter’s 210 million daily-user count. But as the 2024 campaign season ramps up, the conservative-focused apps might expect to see more activity.

“On Saturday evening, ratings on our livestreams of former President Trump’s Arizona rally eclipse primetime viewers on CNN,” Gettr spokesperson Ebony Bowden told TheWrap. “Gettr is taking on monopolies in Big Tech and media by giving users everywhere the chance to speak freely and access the information they want to see, and we welcome people from all ideological backgrounds to join us.”

Gettr claims nearly 4 million total users — and reported almost 400,000 daily average users last quarter. The company has said it aims to reach 10 million users by early 2022.

But while the platform features a few well-known conservative figures — including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Fox’s Sean Hannity, podcaster Bret Weinstein, Newsmax host Rob Schmitt and right-wing political commentator Dinesh D’Souza — the app has struggled to get more influential voices to sign up.

That includes Trump himself, whose presence on the site would almost immediately elevate Gettr in the right-wing social media space. In an interview in The New Yorker this month, Miller admitted that he could not persuade his former boss to join the app — despite a nine-digit offer. (Trump has announced plans to launch his own social-media app called TRUTH as part of the Trump Media & Technology Group run by former GOP Rep. Devin Nunes.)

Miller has had more success with prominent conservatives overseas. Thanks to Jair Bolsonaro and his sons joining Gettr, the company said Brazil now accounts for about 15% of all users.

But while Gettr managed to attract iconoclastic podcaster Joe Rogan earlier this month, the host immediately slammed the app as a “fugazi” site and spoke publicly about leaving within days of signing up. Rogan said on “The Tim Dillon Show” that the platform claims to be defending free speech, independent thought and political censorship — yet he has not found that to be the case.

Gettr claimed more than 700,000 people signed up in the days following Rogan’s arrival. But Rogan soon criticized the app for inflating his follower count since Gettr included the star’s Twitter followers (7.8 million) to reach a number that’s nearly double the total number of Gettr users. Rogan’s signup combined with scientist Dr. Robert Malone drove 1.4 million new users, Bowden said.

“Our Gettr follower count reflected total reach on both Twitter and our platform since we will be rolling out a cross-posting feature which will allow people to automatically publish their Gettr posts on Twitter,” Bowden said. “We’ve taken feedback from our users on board and have since updated the website to make follower counts on both sites easier to understand.”

On the content side, Gettr has also been getting blasted by conservatives over its content moderation policies — yes, the same sort of censorship of opinions that critics have blasted more mainstream social media apps for practicing.

Blaze TV host Jon Miller, who was suspended from the site for using the N-word, turned to Twitter to slam Gettr for wrongfully disciplining him. “The ‘free speech’ frauds at @GETTRofficial have suspended me for no reason. I didn’t even use it. I had no posts. Guess I was too critical of them for suspending others? What does it say when the 1st platform to ban me is the one that sells itself as the free speech alternative?” Miller tweeted. Gettr blamed Miller’s suspension on posting a racial epithet in his bio, which Bowden called “a clear violation of our terms of service and not something we tolerate.”

“America First” host Nick Fuentes, who has also been suspended from Gettr several times for violating its terms of service, has questioned the site’s decision to ban the use of “groyper,” a term popularized by Fuentes’ far-right followers who sometimes refer to themselves as the Groyper Army.