Known as the “alt-tech” alternative to Twitter, Parler is a social networking service aimed at conservatives. Its users are people who oppose the policies of mainstream social networks. Some of those who have used Parler include those who have been banned from mainstream social networks.
Social media platform that promises “free speech”
Earlier this week, former President Donald Trump announced the launch of a new social media platform called Truth Social. The platform promises to be a free speech haven.
According to the company’s website, Truth Social is a nonpartisan platform that promotes free speech and encourages a global conversation. The platform promises to be “free from discrimination and bias”. However, its moderation policies have already drawn scrutiny. During its early days, the site has removed posts from users without explanation. Some users complained that they couldn’t post a quote denouncing US support for Ukraine.
There are other startups that claim to be free speech havens, such as Parler, Gab, Rumble, Gettr, and MeWe. Each of these sites explicitly supports free speech.
However, some of these sites are more partisan than others. Parler, for example, has become home to an alleged Russian disinformation campaign. Its website lists conspiracy theories, standard Republican talking points, and hate speech.
Some right-wing influencers have encouraged people to join the site. It has received substantial funding from conservative donors.
Conservative content on the platform
During Donald Trump’s time in the White House, a platform geared towards conservative speech, Parler, came to prominence. The platform aimed to offer a free-speech alternative to the mainstream social media platforms. However, Parler has faced a fair amount of controversy. Its rules are relatively loose and it has been accused of being a platform for far-right extremists.
Its founders include Robert Mercer, a billionaire conservative, and his daughter, Rebekah Mercer. The couple also invested in Nigel Farage’s Brexit campaign. But the site has struggled with spam, obscenity and pornography.
The site grew in popularity after President Trump was suspended from Twitter. Many right-wing users began migrating to the new alternative. But Parler also faces typical startup challenges. It needs to find content to attract users and it must avoid losing conservative users.
As Trump prepares to leave office, the site is gaining new attention. While it has become an alternative to Facebook and Twitter, it is unclear whether it will survive. It has only a fraction of the users of the two major social media platforms and is unlikely to replace them.
Lack of censorship leading to content struggles
Whether or not censorship is necessary is debatable. A censorship of art is a given, but what about other forms of media? What about social media? What about censorship of the digital variety? What about censorship of the old-fashioned sort? Those are all legitimate questions.
To be sure, a censorship-free environment may be a good thing, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. If you’re looking to have a say in the matter, you may want to think twice. But, as with everything else in the digital age, there is a downside to censorship. Some quarters worry that too much censorship is a bad thing. Fortunately, Facebook is taking measures to address this conundrum.
The company has hired more content reviewers fluent in African languages, and has hired AI to scan content and identify rule-breaking material. It is also in the process of learning more languages, and experimenting with more content-review algorithms. If you aren’t a fan of Facebook, a new social network is in the works.
Despite its stance on freedom of speech, Parler has been the target of a data breach. A security researcher collected 70 terabytes of user information, including private accounts and archived posts. This shows the app’s vulnerabilities.
However, it does use the data for advertising purposes. It can send targeted ads via email or text message, and may provide targeted offers through the website. Using a Parler account, users can post short messages, links, and photos. It also allows users to “vote” on posts and comments.
The company claims to moderate content in line with the FCC’s guidelines and Supreme Court rulings. It does not allow adult content, obscene, sexual or defamatory content, and content with little literary or artistic value. Likewise, it prohibits spam and blackmail.
In fact, many conservative politicians and influencers have set up accounts on Parler, including Senator Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Congressman Devin Nunes. A conservative billionaire, Robert Mercer, co-founded the platform with his daughter. Mercer is a Republican political donor and a board member of the Heritage Foundation. His daughter has invested in Breitbart News and Nigel Farage’s Brexit campaign.