Tuesday, November 10, 2020 : By Nathan Skates
What is Parler? Why are so many people suddenly jumping on board? Why are there glitches? How is this different from Twitter and Facebook?
Parler is a relatively new social media platform that has seen incredible growth in the wake of Twitter and Facebook’s banning of the New York Post article on Hunter Biden. Since then, the platform has seen fierce growth spurts to include the 2020 presidential election.
Parler does not fact check or censor posts but follows FCC guidelines and Supreme Court rulings. Parler CEO John Matze said,
“They can make any claim they’d like, but they’re going to be met with a lot of commenters, a lot of people who are going to disagree with them. That’s how society works, right? If you make a claim, people are going to come and fact check you organically … You don’t need an editorial board of experts to determine what’s true and what’s not … The First Amendment was given to us so that we could all talk about issues, not have a single point of authority to determine what is correct and what’s not.”
So how does Parler work?
Parler is very similar to Twitter. Users start an account and select other users to follow, and users engage each others’ posts via commenting. Parler also uses hashtags to help search for a variety of posts on the hashtag topic.
Defining the terms
Parler uses terms that may be unfamiliar such as “echo” and “upvote.” Echo is essentially Facebook’s “share” or Twitter’s “retweet.” An echo allows a user to share another user’s post with or without commentary on it. An upvote is similar to a “like” on Facebook, it shows support for another user’s post or comment. Parler also has a “downvote” feature signaling that you disagree with but only on a comment – you cannot downvote an original post.
Parler contains a private message feature allowing users to send a message to another user. It also allows users to “subscribe” to certain pages which places them in a separate feed for your favorite pages.
Facebook and Twitter use a blue checkmark to indicate a verified user. Similarly, Parler has verification but uses different badges to indicate what is being verified. Parler’s badge that most similarly represents the blue checkmark is the gold “influencer” badge. These badges are given to verified users with large audiences. The blue “media” badge is given to partners who connect their account with a separate page such as a blog. Commentary from the media user’s Parler account will show up on their connected website as well. Red “real user” badges indicate that the user is, in fact, real. There isn’t much to say about the red badge. The teal “affiliate” badge recognizes verified users who have allowed Parler to post directly from Parler to the user’s website.
Here’s an in-depth look at how to operate Parler:
The platform has drawn well-known conservatives such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Fox News hosts Maria Bartiromo and Sean Hannity, and talk radio host Mark Levin.
“Hurry and follow me at Parler. I’m trying to encourage as many of you as possible to immediately join me there as I may not stay at Facebook or Twitter if they continue censoring me. And one day, I’ll have left their platforms. Parler is a wonderful alternative and is growing, and we need you there ASAP. It believes in truly open speech. Thank you!”
Parler has become the top free app on both the Apple and Google Play Store. Matze claimed that the platform had added 2 million users in the wake of the election, which made the app run slowly. The CEO said he expects the bugs to be ironed out as they adjust to the influx of users.
President Trump said that Twitter was “out of control” due to its repeated false information warnings on his account. Matze called Twitter’s censoring of the President’s account “ludicrous.” He said,
“I don’t think it’s possible for Twitter to say with a 100 percent fact that there’s not one mistake in the election and that there is not one fraudulent vote so fact-checking the president on all of this is pretty ludicrous. Frankly, I think it’s part of our election process that allows [us] to check the results and re-counts so what they are doing is really interfering with what he is trying to say. People should be able to listen and judge for themselves.”
To reiterate, Parler is not a conservative social media platform. While many conservatives are jumping on board, the app itself is marketed as unbiased and uncensored. All liberty-loving conservatives and liberals should find value in this new approach to social media and public discourse.