A pro-Trump social media service built on 'freedom of speech' isn't moderating some child pornography

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A pro-Trump social media service built on 'freedom of speech' isn't moderating some child pornography
Former President Donald Trump spoke with county sheriffs during a listening session in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on February 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images
  • A social media service started by former President Trump's associates is host to child pornography.
  • That's according to a new report from Stanford's Internet Observatory on the platform, called Gettr.
  • The service "does not implement industry standard" moderation tools, which filter out child pornography.

A pro-Trump social media service has a major problem, according to a new report: It's not filtering out known images of child pornography.

Gettr, which was started by former Trump aide and spokesperson Jason Miller, has "very few - if any - mechanisms for detecting spam, violent content, pornography, and child exploitation imagery," a new study by the Stanford Internet Observatory said.

The study found 16 examples of images on Gettr that were flagged by PhotoDNA, a photo-moderation database, as "child exploitation imagery."

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The PhotoDNA database is considered an industry standard tool for frontline defense against users uploading images of child pornography.

When Stanford's Internet Observatory uploaded benign test images from the PhotoDNA database to Gettr, they weren't flagged before being posted - which likely means the database isn't being used at all on the service. Instead, it appears to be relying solely on user-based moderation, the researchers found.

Essentially, the only way offensive content is flagged to Gettr moderators is by users reporting it themselves.

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Read more: Inside the push to get Trump back on social media now that his favorite sites have banned him

"Gettr appears to rely entirely on community reporting mechanisms to find sensitive content and illegal child-related imagery," the report said. "An entirely community-based detection mechanism for sensitive and illegal content is extremely limited and prone to abuse, as such posts and comments may not be seen by users inclined to report them."

Gettr has faced moderation issues before, albeit with legal pornography and other lewd images (rather than illegal content). There were also security issues near launch as a number of prominent accounts on Gettr were hacked.

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The service, which looks and operates much like Twitter, is one of the several social media services that exist with the intention of providing a platform for people who are kicked off services like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They include Gab, Parler, and Gettr, among others.

These services all exist in the same market: Social media that intends to provide a platform for former President Trump after he was excised from Twitter and Facebook following the attempted insurrection and his subsequent remarks. Though some of his most ardent supporters and associates use some of these services, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump himself has yet to join any.

"As an answer to the many people asking, I am not on any social media platform in any way, shape, or form, including Parler, GETTR, Gab, etc.," he said in a statement in July. "When I decide to choose a platform, or build or complete my own, it will be announced. Thank you!"

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