Gettr, the anything-goes social media app that was launched last summer by former Trump aide Jason Miller, saw a significant bump in users this week after an endorsement from podcasting star Joe Rogan, and after Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene was permanently banned from Twitter.
The app, a known haven for right-wing content, was installed 359,000 times in the three days following the ban, according to data from Sensor Tower shared with Fast Company. That’s an increase of 27% from the same period last week.
Greene’s personal Twitter account was suspended on Sunday after the Georgia representative tweeted that the COVID-19 vaccine caused “extremely high” deaths, apparently violating the site’s content guidelines regarding misinformation. That same day, Rogan tweeted that he had opened a Gettr account in case things get “even dumber” on Twitter.
Gettr was trending on Twitter for much of the day following Rogan’s tweet.
If all of this sounds familiar, it should. Alternative social media also saw a huge bump after the election of 2020 and after the January 6 insurrection, when former President Donald Trump was banned from mainstream platforms including Facebook and Twitter. At that time, Parler was the big beneficiary, growing a staggering 1,679% in the three days following Trump’s ban, according to Sensor Tower. To date, Parler has seen 11.2 million global installs versus nearly 6 million for the far younger Gettr.
However, history tells us that these bumps tend to be short-lived. Parler, for instance, did not sustain its growth for more than a few weeks after the 2020 presidential election, according to data from Apptopia, and it was a similar rise-and-fall story for MeWe, another app popular with conservatives. Both were back down to about their normal level of downloads by early December 2020.
It’s also worth noting that Parler’s embrace of controversial users came with existential consequences. Following the insurrection last January, Apple and Google both booted the app from their app stores, citing its lack of adequate moderation policies. It returned to Apple’s store in May after agreeing to some concessions.
Maybe the lesson here is that content moderation exists for a reason. Users who flock to newer social media platforms might ultimately find themselves dealing with the same complaints.