Parler is among the fastest rising social media apps right now. In fact it is currently #1 as of this publish date in the Apple app store. So what is Parler and why is it growing so much right now? Discover this and more in this vlog and podcast episode.
Let's dive into Parler deeper and get some answers...
Social media platforms come and go, with new channels introduced to social media enthusiasts almost monthly. One such app that has gained great popularity recently is Parler. The app has grown quickly over the summer of 2020, with its popularity massively spiking following the U.S presidential elections. As I noted, it currently sits as the most downloaded free Apple store app as of the week of November 9-14. However, unlike Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, very few people knew about this app one month ago!
Parler is among the fastest rising social media apps today but it was launched two years ago. It was designed by Matze and Hared Thomson, graduates from the University of Denver who wanted a transparent social media platform without ideological limitations and abuse of privacy. According to LinkedIn statistics, the company is based in Henderson, Nevada, with approximately 50 employees. Translated to French, ‘Parler” means “to talk.’
Most people who have used Parler say that the platform has many similarities with Twitter. For starters, after signing up, you have to follow other user accounts, and content appears chronologically in the news feed. However, unlike Twitter, with only a 280-character limit, Parler allows up to 1000 characters. Similarly, users can comment on other people’s posts and search using hashtags. You can also upload Gifs, photos and memes.
Parler comes with an “echo” feature symbolized by a Megaphone icon, which functions just like Twitter’s retweet button. It similarly has an upvote icon, which works as the “like” button on other social media platforms. Joining the platform is simple, you provide your email address and telephone number. You will receive a text code to verify and finish your registration. Users should be above 13 years of age to be accepted in the platform.
As mentioned, the creators of this platform wanted an alternative social media platform with freedom of speech. Therefore, with limited content moderation, Parler is suited for social media users who feel Twitter and Facebook may stifle their right to free speech. In an interview with CNBC, Matze liked the platform to a community town square with no censorship. According to him, whatever can be said in the street can be said on Parler too.
Many users of the platform have been flagged and had content taken down on other platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, for going against the terms of service of those networks. Not so with Parler, it'll keep the content up, and leave it to you to decide whether it is accurate or fake news. Like other social media channels, Parler identifies specific accounts, with verified influencers and notable public figures being given gold badges. Authentic regular accounts have red badges, while parody accounts are given purple jester hats. As noted, the Parler claim to fame is that it doesn't filter "fake news" as Facebook and Twitter have increasingly done.
Despite its inception way back in 2018, Parler started becoming noticed recently due to the recently concluded U.S presidential elections. The majority of recent Parler sign-ups are conservative leaning users who allege that platforms such as Twitter and Facebook suppress their right to free speech. These allegations escalated after Facebook and Twitter labeled tweets by President Trump as containing wrong information on voter fraud when he falsely claimed that he had won the elections this past weekend and that there was fraud.
Facebook and Twitter added labels under President Trump’s tweets, informing platform users that the information shared is disputed. The label also indicated that Biden was the projected winner of the elections. Following this, many of President Trump’s supporters rallied each other to switch from Facebook and Twitter, accusing them of being biased.
Other politicians in Trump’s divide also drummed up support for Parler publicly. Some of the high profile users of Parler include the president’s son Eric Trump, Newt Gingrich, who is the former house speaker, and Senator Ted Cruz.
Parler doesn't restrict free speech, which can be good, but then it also does not filter out fake news. So is that good? Fake news has grown and we've even seen evidence of foreign governments using it to influence American opinions. So that's a danger of Parler, that people can be unduly influenced by fake and inaccurate information that is shared.
Will it catch on? Right now it has a definite bump in sign-ups from conservatives in response to the election but will it last? The key is in adoption. Getting a username is one thing but will people use it daily? If so, that's adoption. Also, will it catch on mainstream or simply be used by one segment and therefore be a "niche" app? Hard to say but at this point early on it looks that way.
Remember the social platform "Ello"? No? Right. It's another one that started, grew, and faded quickly. So will Parler do that as well? It looks like it but time will tell for sure.
So for now, I'd encourage you to get your username and your business username just so you have it on the platform, then just wait and see how it goes.
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