The right-leaning social media app Gettr is attracting international users, including Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, the populist agitator who has been described as the Donald Trump of Brazil. Bolsonaro has largely used the app to post videos of speeches, but his sons are more active, using the platform to post details of their personal lives.
Gettr CEO Jason Miller told the Washington Free Beacon that 15 percent of the platform's users are Brazilian. Miller, a former spokesman for Donald Trump, touted the high number of new users from Japan and Western Europe, noting that Japan is outpacing Brazil in growth. Half of Gettr users are American, still the largest share from any country. Miller and Donald Trump Jr. are traveling to Brazil this week for a CPAC conference. It is the second time CPAC has hosted a conference in Brazil, after an event in 2019 that drew American politicians, including Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah).
Gettr, a platform largely based on Twitter, has positioned itself as a home for conservative speech often squelched by mainstream social media platforms. According to Miller, the app is growing because "people are really upset with big tech. There's these big tech oligarchs and overlords who are playing judge, jury, and executioner with free speech rights." Miller suggested that the app's success is part of a broader "pushback against global elites."
Trump, who developed an enormous following on Twitter and Facebook before being banned after the Capitol riots, has not yet joined the platform. Miller said negotiations are ongoing to bring the former president onboard. Miller said he is "feeling bullish" about Trump's joining, but "there's no white smoke from the Vatican yet." Yahoo reported on Tuesday that Trump may want equity in the platform as part of any deal for him to join.
Gettr has gained over two million users since it launched in July. By comparison, Twitter boasts 206 million active users, and Facebook has over 1 billion. About half of Gettr users are based outside the United States, and the platform hosts a high volume of Mandarin-speaking users. Miller said that about 4 percent of users are based in China but that 10-15 percent of posts were in Mandarin. "There's a very passionate, vibrant, pro-freedom, pro-democracy movement of folks who came from China and now live all over the world," Miller said.
Many of the posts written in Mandarin appear to support Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, from whom Gettr has received extensive funding. While Guo says he is a dissident from China's Communist government and has allied with many right-wing China hawks, including former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, some suspect he may actually be working for Beijing.
The platform has announced it will never ban users for their political speech, but it takes a harder line on obscenity than other platforms. Miller says Gettr has had to change its content moderation strategy. "In the first week or two, you couldn't say the F-word. And then we realized that's too tight a screen. We want to keep things that are illegal or threatening off the platform. So we've relaxed it a bit to make sure we're not being overly intrusive."
Miller said he also draws the line on political speech from "groups that exist to bring hate and terror to other people" and said he will not allow Taliban members on the site. "Twitter has coddled terrorist groups, in my opinion," Miller said, pointing to Twitter's recent announcement that it will not ban Taliban members as long as they do not post explicit support for terror.
Update 5:26 p.m.: This piece has been updated to include additional information.