IS group infiltrate pro-Trump social media network
Alleged supporters of the Islamic State group have found their way into GETTR, a social networking platform with mostly right-wing content that surged in popularity after former US President Donald Trump lost last year's elections.
The platform was initially started as a free-speech alternative by Trump's allies after he was de-platformed after the 6 January Capitol Riots. GETTR, along with other spaces such as Parler championed anti-censorship, is allowing right-wing social media users to post freely without being subjected to anti-hate speech laws.
According to a report by US news outlet POLITICO, members of IS, an extremist group that controlled parts of Iraq and Syria up until a few years ago, are seeking to take advantage of GETTR's anti-censorship ethos by joining and spreading their propaganda.
IS "has been very quick to exploit GETTR", Moustafa Ayad, executive director for Africa, the Middle East and Asia at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank that tracks online extremism, told POLITICO.
"On Facebook, there was on one of these accounts that I follow that is known to be Islamic State, which said 'Oh, Trump announced his new platform. Inshallah, all the mujahideen will exploit that platform,'" he added. "The next day, there were at least 15 accounts on GETTR that were Islamic State."
Days after GETTR was launched on 1 July, alleged IS supporters urged their followers on other social networks to sign up to the pro-Trump network, to directly battle the right-wing camp on their own virtual ground.
"If this app reaches the expected success, which is mostly probable, it should be adopted by followers and occupied in order to regain the glory of Twitter, may God prevail," one account on Facebook that appeared sympathetic with wrote on 6 July.
They were found sharing content that includes graphic videos of beheadings, viral memes that promote violence against the Western world, and even memes of a militant executing Trump in an orange jumpsuit, similar to those used in Guantanamo Bay, were found. Some of the material from July were taken down.
Being backed by high-profile allies to Trump has allowed GETTR has become one of the social media networks most widely used by the right-wing.
Its chief executive is Jason Miller, Trump's chief spokesperson during the 2016 US presidential race and advisor for his re-election campaign. The site is partially funded by Miles Guo, the business partner of former Trump advisor Steve Bannon. Trump, however, is neither overtly involved in GETTR, nor officially using it.
Miller claims the IS camp has infiltrated GETTR because Trump beat them militarily. "The only ISIS members still alive are keyboard warriors hiding in caves and eating dirt cookies," he told POLITICO.