Posts tagged with "Parler"

New TrumpWorld social media site, Gettr, is hacked, mocked, and trolled with Hedgehog porn

July 9, 2021

Former Trump spokesperson Jason Miller launched a new social media platform called Gettr late last week, only to see it quickly mocked online, particularly for its uninspired name.

Following the flops of such right-wing sites as Gab, Parler, and Mike Lindell’s Frank, Miller presented Gettr  to the public as a way to solve conservatives’ S problems on social media—but, the launch encountered a series of challenges, from hackers scraping troves of users’ private data to leftists trolling the platform with NSFW Sonic the Hedgehog content, Salon reports. 

Last Thursday, Politico was the first to report on Gettr’s plans to go live. A team of former Trump campaign associates helped to kickstart the new right-wing app, which announced itself as aimed at “fighting cancel culture, promoting common sense, defending free speech, challenging social media monopolies, and creating a true marketplace of ideas.” 

While ridicule indeed followed, many in TrumpWorld showed up at the half-developed website, including Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, former Trump White House aide Sebastian Gorka, and a plethora of former Trump campaign staffers.

Soon thereafter, The Daily Beast uncovered that Miller’s entire venture was being funded by fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, aka Miles Kwok, who is friendly with various TrumpWorld figures, most notably Steve Bannon. But before the dust even got a chance to settle, Gettr became the target of hackers who saw the site security as laughable.

According to Salon, on the morning of July 4—the day the site was slated for its grand launch— the site was hacked by a somewhat friendly hacker who defaced usernames on top accounts, including those of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; American Conservative Union chairman Matt ;Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene; and Jason Miller, himself.

“JubaBaghdad was here, follow me in twitter :),” the hacker wrote, as first reported by Salon. The hacker told Salon that the breach took him less than 20 minutes to carry out in subsequent conversations. “Took from me 20 minutes to find them. And I’m sure I can find more if I spent more time,” the anonymous hacker shared. 

The following day, on Monday, the hacker reached back out to Salon with a lengthy list of other points of concern on Gettr, including “a dangerous bug in their API server,” which the hacker said was an access point where he was able to uncover information including “email, birthdate, and location.”

The hacker, known on Twitter as “JubaBaghdad,” offered as proof that he or she was able to access accurate information scraped from this Salon reporter’s Gettr account, created only days earlier. The hacker stressed that Gettr remains open to attacks.

Miller didn’t respond to Salon’s request for an interview, nor to the offer of answering questions by email.

In public statements, Miller has claimed that Gettr was poised to challenge the “woke tyranny” of Big Tech, a major villain in the conservative universe.

“GETTR is a direct challenge to the social media oligarchs from Silicon Valley, and what better day to declare independence from their woke tyranny than July 4th?” Miller declared. “GETTR is the marketplace of ideas. We will not cancel people for their political opinions, and GETTR offers far more features and better technology than anything else out there.”

But this sales pitch evidently made little impact on Donald Trump, Miller’s former boss, who evidently has no plans to join the right-wing platform anytime soon.

Research contact: @Salon

Parler reappears with help from Russian-owned security service

January 20, 2021

Parler—a social network similar to Twitter to which then-President Donald Trump fled after he was tossed off his @realDonaldTrump feed for bad behavior—has reappeared.

Early in January, Parler also was taken down—by big tech companies Apple, Google, and Amazon after it was used by members to send messages inciting violence at the U.S. Capitol. However, its website is back  up—powered by a hosting service from DDoS-Guard, a Web security service that is owned by two Russians, according to a report by The Boston Globe.

“Our return is inevitable due to hard work and persistence against all odds,” CEO John Matze wrote in a new post—the latest since Amazon Web Services stopped hosting the site and it was banned from Apple and Google’s app stores. “Despite the threats and harassment not one Parler employee has quit. We are becoming closer and stronger as a team.”

According to the Globe, public data associated with the Parler.com domain name shows that one of the Internet servers it directs visitors to is routed via DDoS-Guard. Another server, specifically for routing Parler.com e-mail but not website content, is an Outlook.com address, operated by Microsoft.

A spokesperson for DDoS-Guard said the company was not hosting Parler and declined to comment on what services it was providing to the social media app. It confirmed it did store customer data as part of its offering.

On Sunday, January 17, Apple CEO Tim Cook defended Apple’s decision to delist the Parler app despite complaints from critics that the move impinges on free speech.

“We looked at the incitement to violence that was on there,” Cook said on Fox News Sunday, adding, ”We don’t consider that free speech and incitement to violence has an intersection.”

Parler’s domain name is now registered with Epik, a website services company based in Sammamish, Washington, according to public records made available by Internet regulator Icann. Epik is also the domain registrar for Gab, another less restrictive social networking site popular with the far right.

Most of the features on Parler.com appeared to remain down early Tuesday, the Globe reports—besides statements from Matze and other employees. Members are unable to log in or post messages and the app is still unavailable in the Apple or Google Play stores.

Microsoft didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Epik said in a sprawling statement on its website from JanIuary 11 that it’s had “no contact or discussions with Parler in any form.” The statement also addressed propaganda, breakdowns in civil society, and editorial malfeasance on the part of “major media owners.”

Before its ban, Parler—which has less restrictive terms dictating what members can post and was endorsed by some Republican lawmakers and media figures—had seen a surge in users as Twitter and Facebook banished outgoing President Trump along with users and groups that supported the violence.

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

 

Trump supporters flee to MeWe, Gab, and Rumble after Parler goes offline

January 13, 2021

Now that the account of @realDonaldTrump has been banned from Twitter—and both Apple and Google have dropped Parler from their app stores—supporters are flocking to the social media sites MeWe, Gab, and Rumble, Fortune reports.

Gab, a service that claims to champion free speech, said it added 600,000 new users over the weekend. Meanwhile, MeWe, a similar service, said it has added 400,000 users every day since Saturday and now has more than 14 million members.

The gains follow Sunday’s shut down of conservative social network Parler, which went offline after Amazon web hosting service dumped Parler as a customer because of violent posts and threats in wake of the Capitol riot. Shortly beforehand, both Apple and Google had banned Parler from their app stores.

Adding to the increased interest in alternative social media sites are bans by Twitter and Facebook on President Trump and other high-profile conservative personalities..

On Monday, Fortune notes, Facebook went to the additional step of removing content containing the phrase “stop the steal” in hopes of preventing future violence. The phrase is a popular rallying call of Trump supporters who falsely believe there was widespread fraud in the presidential election.

“It’s almost like the perfect storm,” MeWe CEO Mark Weinstein told the news outlet, adding, “The melting pot of people coming to MeWe are coming from all directions.”

Weinstein hammered home the point that his goal is to be “more vigilant” in moderating content on his service, and that he does not want to be an “anything goes” app—a thinly veiled swipe at Parler’s lax approach.

He said that MeWe has just shy of 100 content moderators who review posts on its service, and that they actually adhere to “strict” terms of service that includes the possibility that they’ll alert authorities about any concerning posts. But on Monday, several QAnon and “patriot” private groups could be found, one of which called Patriots Unleashed asked users if they were “armed and ready” before allowing them to join.

Weinstein acknowledged that some of MeWe’s user growth has been due to Parler shutting down. But he added that the app was growing prior to the election and riots. As a result, he said MeWe’s users have a wide array of political views, and are not just Trumpists.

“Those other guys, they’re opinion chambers,” he said about Parler and Gab. “We’re a social network.”

The rise of alternative social media services began late last year after Facebook and Twitter began labeling and removing more posts on their services for election misinformation. Conservatives considered the crackdown to be evidence of bias against them and President Trump.

For example, Rumble, a little-known YouTube rival, suddenly soared in popularity. Over the weekend, users downloaded its app 162,000 times— a nearly 10-fold gain from last weekend, Fortune says.

But Mark Shmulik, analyst at investment bank AB Bernstein, said he doesn’t expect the latest rise in popularity of MeWe and Gab to be long-lasting. “It’s a fad,” he said. “There will be a little niche, but it won’t disrupt what we’re seeing on Twitter.”

Shmulik said Twitter and Facebook, though growing slower, are far larger and also attract a more diverse set of users with a diverse set of thoughts. That’s what makes big social media companies more engaging than the upstarts, he added, which he described as the “equivalent to Trump rallies.”

“You can continue that, but at some point you have to reach the masses,” Shmulik said.

Research contact: @FortuneMagazine

Trump allies squirm as they spin Proud Boys remarks he made at presidential debate

October 1, 2020

White House and GOP campaign aides struggled on Wednesday morning, September 30, as they attempted to clean up Donald Trump’s comments made a night earlier at the first presidential debate. Going head-to-head with Democrat Joe Biden, the POTUS declined to explicitly condemn (even at Biden’s urging) white supremacy; instead directing the far-right hate group Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” The Hill reports.

Multiple Trump surrogates faced questions about the remarks during cable news hits, where they downplayed his calls for the group to “stand by” and pointed to the president’s past denunciations of white supremacists.

“I don’t think that there’s anything to clarify,” White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah said on Fox News.

“He’s told them to stand back. This president has surged federal resources when violent crime warrants it in cities. He’s leading. He doesn’t need any sort of vigilantism,” she continued. “That’s never what we’ve called for. What we’ve called for is Democrat mayors and Democrat governors to call up the resources we’re prepared to make available.”

Pressed on if Trump missed an opportunity to condemn white supremacy, Farah noted that the president said “sure” when asked at the outset whether he would tell white supremacists to “stand down.”

“What the president’s referring to there is when we see unrest in our streets and private citizens try to defend themselves or their businesses, that’s a right that they have,” she added.

Hogan Gidley, the national press secretary for the Trump campaign, was more forceful, The Hill noted—both in his own condemnation of the Proud Boys and his interpretation of the president’s words.

“He wants them to get out of the way. He wants them to not do the things they say they want to do,” Gidley commented.”This is a reprehensible group.”

Multiple Trump allies have argued that Trump has on multiple occasions condemned white supremacist groups. The president has in fact done so, including in the aftermath of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, last year, but he has typically only denounced them after being repeatedly coaxed to do so.

On the debate stage on Tuesday night, however, Trump stopped short, The Hill said..

Moderator Chris Wallace asked if Trump was willing to condemn “white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down.”

Trump responded that he would be willing to, but when Wallace and Democratic nominee Joe Biden urged him to actually do it, the president asked for a name of a group to condemn.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump said after Biden named the far-right group. “But I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left.”

The group celebrated Trump’s comments. One social media account affiliated with the self-described “white chauvinist” organization added Trump’s comments to the Proud Boys logo.

The group’s Telegram account took Trump’s remarks as an order. “Standing down and standing by sir,” the account wrote.

A prominent Proud Boy posted on conservative Twitter-alternative Parler that “Trump basically said to go f— them up! this makes me so happy.”

“President Trump told the proud boys to stand by because someone needs to deal with ANTIFA… well sir! we’re ready!!” the organizer added.

Founded by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes in the midst of the 2016 election, the Proud Boys are known for their white nationalist pandering, blatant anti-Muslim rhetoric and close ties with more publicly violent extremists.

The male-only group, named after a song from the Aladdin musical, gained national prominence for its involvement in the 2016 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. It has staged multiple counter-rallies aimed at disrupting the anti-police brutality protests that have swept the country since the police killing of George Floyd in May.

According to The Hill, “Trump’s invocation of “antifa” to dodge condemning white supremacists fits into a pattern of the president trying to equivocate right- and left-wing violence. Antifa, short for anti-facist, refers to a loose collection of primarily far-left activists. FBI Director Christopher Wray in a hearing earlier this month pointed out that the term refers to an ideology, not an organization.”

Indeed, the president’s reluctance to unequivocally condemn white supremacists on the debate stage exasperated some of his allies on Wednesday.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (R) called it a “huge gaffe,” while Fox News host Brian Kilmeade lamented that Trump whiffed on “the biggest layup in the history of debates” by failing to condemn white supremacy.

GOP Senator Tim Scott (South Carolina) the lone Black Republican in the Senate, said the president should “correct” his comments.

“I think he misspoke. I think he should correct it. If he doesn’t correct it, I guess he didn’t misspeak,” Scott said.

Research contact: @thehill