After topping both Google and Apple download charts this past week, you are probably wondering “What is Parler?”
Parler is a twitter-style social media platform that was launched by John Matze and Jared Thomson in 2018. Their biggest differentiator is their concept which is to provide a social media network that is free of judgement, where people can freely express their own thoughts and opinions.
The social media network name is derived from the French word “to speak” or “to talk” and is pronounced “PAR-lor”. As stated by the founder John Matze, “Parler is committed to free speech, does not mine or sell data, and does not remove content based on politics or ideology. Parler continues to stand with the People and against techno authoritarianism.”
Similar to other social platforms in appearance and function, Parler is built around a newsfeed. Users can follow other users and engage with public figures and news sources.
A post is called a ‘Parlay’ and can contain up to 1,000 characters. Users are able to comment on posts, ‘vote’ (which is similar to a like), ‘echo’ (which is similar to a retweet) or search for hashtags. Additionally, Parler offers a direct message feature. Moreover, Parler provides a yellow badge that says “verified influencer” to public figures, influencers, or brands.
Parler community guidelines are simple and to the point. There are really only two main rules of Parler. The first rule is users must not post anything that is unlawful. The second rule is no spam. Users who violate any guidelines, are subject to a community jury and could be removed from the app.
Recently, some Americans have grown increasingly frustrated with leading social media giants and are claiming censorship of their opinions regarding the 2020 Presidential election. Specifically, Facebook and Twitter have been largely criticized for their increased efforts on flagging, tagging, and sometimes blocking posts that makes false claims about the election, election process, or the results.
The rise in Parler comes with Americans divided on whether they want social media firms to do more to decrease the amounts of misinformation or allow the platforms to be a place for all speech.
Parler stated last Tuesday that the number of users had nearly doubled in the past week, from 4.5 million to 8 million. They said the number of active users has grown from 550K two weeks ago to more than 4 million. This is a rapid growth rate; however, the platform is still behind Twitter and Facebook. Twitter is at 187 million daily users and Facebook is at 1.8 billion daily users.
While some people are flocking to the newest network, others are still skeptical. Some sources have claimed “if Parler gets sued over something you post online, the company could make you pay its legal fees,” but after reviewing their terms of service, we haven’t found this statement to be true.
Parler’s terms do state that if a user gets sued for something they did or said on the platform, they can’t, in turn, sue the network, which is a standard practice across most networks in general.
That said, many skeptics of the network claim that Parlor is providing people with a false sense of safety and that their rules and regulations are similar to the other networks out there.
I would say that it is too early to know if Parler will have lasting appeal. For now, as the United States grapples with the ongoing election conversation, Parler has carved out a unique digital hangout free of any censorship – for good and for worse.
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