Following the announcement of Biden's presumed win for the 2020 Election, a social media app, called Parler, surged to the top spot in the "free apps" chart in Apple's app store.
So, what is Parler, and why is it so popular all of a sudden? Here's the scoop.
What is it?
Named after the French word that means “to speak,” Parler joins the ranks of budding social media platforms like MeWe and Wimkin.
Parler was created to be a "free speech" alternative to popular social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The app was built by John Matze and Jared Thomson, two Nevada-based programmers, who were "exhausted with a lack of transparency in big tech [and] ideological suppresssion."
The app initially started to grow in popularity after mainstream social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, started "fact-checking" and "flagging" posts for spreading false or misleading information or containing offensive or racist material.
Parler advertises itself as “unbiased social media” where “you can speak freely and express yourself openly, without fear of being ‘deplatformed’ for your views.”
Users can find stories and content related to political news, sports, and entertainment. Users can follow particular individuals, upvote posts by giving “parleys,” and share the posts of others called “echoing.”
The app’s privacy policies “make no guarantees as to the security or privacy of your information.”
Parler’s privacy policies also say the app collects and shares the following with third-party vendors, analytics partners, and service providers:
- Any information that users share on the site, like photos, videos, and comments.
- IP addresses and user location information.
- The history of a user’s searched, posts or searched posts, and how frequently they visit pages or posts.
Additionally, users may be removed from the app for violating the community guidelines, which are “subject to modification, unilaterally, by Parler at any time.” Violations include using the app to incite violence, commit a crime, or posting spam.
Why is it so popular all of a sudden?
Parler has gained 4.5 million users since last Friday, according to The Washington Times. It’s no coincidence that the app’s popularity boost occurred as election vote counts indicated that Former Vice President Joe Biden was in the lead for the 2020 General Election.
Since election day, Twitter has flagged more than 1/3 of President Trump's tweets as disinformation, according to the Independent. The Trump campaign’s Parler account, which boats over 1.8 million followers, has made the same claims without consequence thanks to Parler’s “free speech” policies.
Without fact checkers or guidelines requiring accuracy of information on the app, users are free to post information, thoughts, or opinions without fear of censorship or being banned. This is part of the site’s appeal to public figures and conservative individuals who feel they are not able to freely express themselves on other platforms.
Many conservative public figures have already migrated to Parler after being flagged or banned from other social media platforms, including Republican Senator Ted Cruz.
Multiple right-wing figures have also found homes on Parler after being banned from other networks. Milo Yiannopoulos, who is banned from Twitter and the country of Australia, has a loyal following on Parler, as does Laura Loomer, who self-identifies as a “Proud Islamophobe” and was banned from Facebook in 2018.
New users to Parler have complained about the app’s glitchy sign-up process and have been disappointed by the lack of organizational features, but these issues are minor and it’s possible the app will expand and improve as it continues to grow.