Alternative social networks hI’ve seen an increase in attention over the past year, but have struggled to maintain consistent user growth.
GETTR, Truth Social and Parler all market themselves as neutral platforms that offer a free speech-focused alternative to giants such as Twitter and Facebook. The promise of unfiltered speech made them attractive to political conservatives. However, a review of data from third-party auditors found that companies were struggling to retain users on the website.
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GETTR, the website founded by former Trump administration official Jason Miller, has seen the total number of unique visitors to its website decline by 60% annually. The website fell from 1,911,000 total unique visitors in its first month, July 2021, to just 784,000 in July 2022, according to data provided by media analytics firm Comscore at Washington Examiner. App-based unique visitors, or users visiting the website through a mobile app, started to hit 1,336,000 unique visitors in July 2021, but have fluctuated over the past year from 251,000 in September 2021 to 608,000 in July 2022.
Parler, a conservative alternative founded in 2018, reported slightly smaller drops in total unique visitors. The “free speech alternative” had just 496,000 total unique visitors to its website, down 42% year-on-year. App-based visitors also grew from 300,000 in July 2021 to 59,000 in July 2022.
Truth Social, backed by former President Donald Trump, has seen a smaller drop in user numbers, in part because it’s newer. Truth Social launched with 3,260,000 total unique visitors to its website in February 2022, but its number dipped to 2,545,000 in July 2022. Total app-based unique visitors increased from 2,274,000 in February to a high of 2,598,000 in March. The numbers fell to 1,248,000 in June, but then jumped to 2,009,000 in July.
In terms of total downloads, Parler has had 11.4 million since its launch, according to data provided by SensorTower. GETTR has 7.3 million downloads, while the most recent Truth Social brought in 3.3 million.
Platforms may not see stronger growth because they lack liberal users already at home on established networks. “These platforms are in trouble because there’s no counter argument,” said Luke Lintz, brand consultant at HighKey Enterprises. “Social media platforms thrive on controversy, polarizing topics, debates and questioning.”
Although third-party metrics offer insights into websites, their scope is limited due to the various web traffic limitations these companies have experienced.
For example, not every company has had an app version of their website available since its release. Truth Social launched its iPhone app in February 2022 and its web app in May, but had its application for an Android app denied by Google in August. Speak was also removed from the App Store and Google Play Store in January 2021 due to the website’s connection to the January 6 rioters, only to be added to both platforms later. GETTR has been available on both platforms since its release.
Third-party auditor comparisons are unreliable, said Samuel Lipoff, chief technology officer at Parler. Washington Examiner. He notes that the web presence of GETTR, Parler and Truth Social has been hampered by limited availability on mobile devices, which affects the number of actual users on each platform.
When asked to comment, GETTR claimed it was experiencing monumental growth after a few controversial political figures joined the platform. “GETTR remains the fastest growing social media platform in the world and today has over 6 million users in 192 countries,” said Ebony Bowden, Director of Global Communications at GETTR. Washington Examiner. “In early September, we saw registrations increase by 287% after former Brexit leader Nigel Farage and former professional kickboxers Andrew and Tristan Tate joined the platform.”
While these networks struggle to maintain traffic, their relationship to politics plays an important role in future growth. “It’s hard to predict how the apps will perform over the long term, but they’ll likely see an increase in adoption around major US political events,” said SensorTower Mobile Insights strategist Stephanie Chan. Washington Examiner. This was most clearly illustrated when Truth Social saw a slight increase in downloads after the Mar-a-Lago raid on August 8. according at data.ai.
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Other events that often generate followers appear to be censorship cases in which politicians or notable public figures are banned from Twitter or Facebook. GETTR complaints it sparked renewed interest after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-SC) was banned from Twitter and after Joe Rogan said he would move to the platform. Truth Social’s connection to the former president also gave it an edge. The website is now a go-to place to see all of Trump’s public statements on the day’s events.