The good news: A first deluge of explicit porn starring Sonic the Hedgehog is gone.
The bad news: it has been replaced by ISIS propaganda.
Such are the struggles of Gettr, the pro-Trump, anti-censorship Twitter clone launched by former Trump spokesman Jason Miller last month.
An investigation by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank that tracks extremism online, found that supporters of the Islamic State are using the nascent social network to disseminate graphic videos and other terrorist propaganda, highlighting Gettr’s commitment to freedom of expression and its test moderation system.
The jihadist accounts were first reported by Moustafa Ayad, the organization’s executive director for Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Ayad told HuffPost that ISIS supporters used Facebook to coordinate a “raid and occupation” campaign targeting Gettr on July 6, with the first batch of 20 accounts going live within 24 hours. .
Those 20 accounts ran roughly 300 pieces of propaganda on Gettr in the first week and then “generated exponentially” to bypass moderation efforts. They have since grown to at least 250 active accounts with content including calls for violence and beheading videos, according to a Politico tally.
ISIS supporters have made concentrated efforts in recent months to “seed and develop” supportive communities, Ayad said. Targeting conservative and far-right platforms is a deliberate tactic: Compared to Facebook, these platforms often have limited resources to tackle the problem, and by simply being there, ISIS can claim a media victory by “Possessing” a conservative space.
Screenshots of the jihadist content that the Institute for Strategic Dialogue shared with HuffPost shows that early posts, while problematic, had minimal interaction. Other disturbing content, like white supremacist propaganda, is likely to have much greater reach, said Emerson Brooking, senior researcher at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which studies disinformation online.
“Because of the way Gettr is built, it’s hard to quantify the popularity of a topic,” Brooking told HuffPost in an email. “In my review of the platform, however, I found these ISIS fan accounts to have relatively low reach. Some of these accounts appear to have been manually deleted by Gettr after being reported by reporters and researchers. ”
“On the other hand, it only takes a few seconds to find content promoting the 2019 white supremacist terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, which saw the murder of 51 faithful Muslims. The same is true of content related to the “Great Replacement” and other white supremacist propaganda that fueled terrorist attacks around the world.
Posted on Gettr on Monday, Miller called Politico’s count of ISIS fan accounts “misleading and inflammatory,” but neglected to explain why it was inaccurate. He also bragged about Gettr’s “robust and proactive moderation system that removes banned content, maximizing both cutting edge AI technology and human moderation.”
Facebook, Twitter and all kinds of small networks have long struggled to effectively moderate their platforms. While large companies employ rigorous artificial intelligence screening and thousands of third-party human moderators with imperfect results, start-ups have even fewer resources at their disposal.
“The networks of ISIS supporters that we follow on large, small and niche platforms are all interconnected in one way or another. They “go fast and break things,” “Ayad said, referring to Facebook’s infamous motto.
Gettr’s ISIS issues follow the aforementioned clash with furry porn, a widespread hack that exposed the data of over 90,000 users, another hack that disfigured the accounts of some prominent users, a early entanglement with prominent neo-Nazis, inadvertently do its source code available, and an international funding controversy. All last month.
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