The Lawfare Podcast: Content Moderation Comes for Parler and Gettr

By Jen Patja Howell
Thursday, September 9, 2021, 5:01 AM

Let’s say you’re a freedom-loving American fed up with Big Tech’s effort to censor your posts. Where can you take your business? One option is Parler—the social media platform that became notorious for its use by the Capitol rioters. Another is Gettr—a new site started by former Trump aide Jason Miller.

Unfortunately, both platforms have problems. They don’t work very well. They might leak your personal data. They’re full of spam. And they seem less than concerned about hosting some of the internet’s worst illegal content. Can it be that some content moderation is necessary after all?

Today, we’re bringing you another episode of our Arbiters of Truth series on the online information ecosystem. Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with David Thiel, the big data architect and chief technical officer of the Stanford Internet Observatory. With his colleagues at Stanford, David has put together reports on the inner workings of both Parler and Gettr. They talked about how these websites work (and don’t), the strange contours of what both platforms are and aren’t willing to moderate, and what we should expect from the odd world of “alt-tech.”