Right-wing users flock to Parler as social media giants rein in misinformation

Since the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Parler has caught on among right-wing politicians and “influencers” – people with large online followings – as a social media platform where they can share and promote ideas without worrying about the company blocking or flagging their posts for being dangerous or misleading. However, the website has become a haven for far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists who are now interacting with the mainstream conservatives flocking to the platform.

As the three highest-profile social media companies – YouTube, Facebook and Twitter – continue to take action to mitigate the spread of extremism and disinformation, Parler has welcomed the ensuing exodus of right-wing users. It has exploded in popularity, doubling its members to 10 million during the month of November – although it is still dwarfed by Twitter’s roughly 330 million monthly active users.

With its newfound success, the site is contributing to the widening gap

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Why some social media users are making the switch to Parler

The 2020 election season was flooded with misinformation about everything from the security of mail-in voting to the accuracy of election results. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms attempted to crack down on the falsehoods being shared with flags and fact checks — but that crackdown is prompting some users to leave in pursuit of online communities with fewer restrictions.



a close up of a computer keyboard: Man typing at his laptop computer at night


© Westend61
Man typing at his laptop computer at night

Many right-wing individuals, citing censorship on Facebook and Twitter, have flocked to Parler, which brands itself as “unbiased social media.” Other popular sites include MeWe and Ruqqus.

After Twitter hid and flagged a tweet from Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo that shared misleading information about election results in key states, Bartiromo tweeted that she plans to give up Twitter for Parler, and encouraged her followers to do the same.

Conservative radio host Mark Levin repeatedly asked his Facebook and

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I tried Parler, the social media app where hate speech thrives

While the Bay Area hosts juggernauts Facebook and Twitter, neighboring Nevada is home to social media upstart Parler, headquartered in Henderson, a suburb of Las Vegas. Fear and loathing are apt descriptors for the site, where the rancor of the far-right thrives. Beneath the thin guise of the app’s self-proclaimed emphasis on “free speech” lies the ability to say not just a hypothetical “anything,” but specifically to share racist slurs and violent threats toward political opponents. On Parler, Nazi imagery flourishes, death threats abound, and conspiracy theories reign.

Following Twitter and Facebook’s recent efforts to label false and misleading posts, users flocked to Parler, which has occupied a top 10 spot on both the Android and Apple app stores in recent weeks. Parler users bemoan big tech, but the app’s funding comes at least in part from Rebekah Mercer, daughter of Robert Mercer, a billionaire with a history of data-mining.

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Parler is growing but conservatives are not ready to leave Twitter

“I will no longer accept the censorship that is happening on Twitter,” she said. She would still use the site to promote her guests and TV shows, she added, but she would not “be dropping any scoops” there, and that “it is Parler where you will find real stories and the things I’m working on and my opinions on things.”

From election day until Sunday afternoon, she’s posted to Parler 118 times — and tweeted 174 times.

Since launching in 2018, Parler’s leaders have framed the social network as one of the last bastions of free speech online, building a fan base of annoyed conservatives who argue they had been silenced everywhere else.

The company said its user base has exploded since Trump’s election loss, doubling this month to more than 10 million accounts. In Apple’s app store, according to data from analytics firm Sensor Tower, Parler jumped from 1,023

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Social media platform Parler wins over millions as some raise red flags about the site

Ann-Cherie Harden opened an account on Parler a year ago, long before the social media platform became a big hit, particularly among conservatives and supporters of President Donald Trump.

“I did that then so I would have a means of communication if Facebook and Twitter decide to monitor or censor private posts and try to control what I can share,” the Whittier woman said, adding that she now sees many others have joined her on the platform billing itself as “the world’s town square.”

Harden is not imagining it. Parler is getting more crowded.

The lure of free speech

In July, Parler had a reported 2.8 million users. Within a week of the Nov. 3 election, however, that number had grown to more than 8 million. That week alone, Parler gained more than 3.5 million users, putting it at the top of Apple’s App Store list of free apps. Other

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Opinion | Parler and other alternative social media look likely to host the battle over truth

Twitter-analog Parler saw a short-term surge in popularity when the original Twitter labeled a tweet of President Trump’s for the first time this summer; following the election Parler’s user base has ballooned again, along with a rise in audience for MeWe (a little more like Facebook) and Rumble (more like YouTube). The upside of the shift in Twitter’s and Facebook’s tactics is, of course, that the most harmful lies on the Internet can no longer spread unchecked to billions of users who never sought them out. The downside is that those who do seek them out by leaving for an edgier alternative are far less likely to be exposed to counterclaims — and more likely to fall forever down the rabbit hole.

Whether these alternative platforms can really replace their inspirations is dubious. The bigger sites still have the alluring advantage of being, well, bigger. And radicalism on the Internet

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Bill Gates comments on social media platform Parler

Post-election, many conservatives, and some extremists, have been heading to Parler, a conservative social media app funded by Republican megadonor Rebekah Mercer, which bills itself as a free speech Twitter-spin off.

But billionaire Bill Gates isn’t a fan of the platform, calling some of its content “crazy stuff.”

If somebody goes to Parler, they are saying, “I like crazy stuff,” Gates said Tuesday at The New York Times DealBook Summit. “If you want Holocaust denial, hey, Parler is going to be great for you,” Gates said.

(In October, Facebook announced a ban on content denying or distorting the Holocaust, classifying it as hate speech. Parler, however, does not police any content on its platform, so popular but controversial topics that appear on the site include voter fraud, Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic remarks, according to the Anti-Defamation League.)

Parler, which was founded by Mercer, John Matze and Jared Thomson in 2018,

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Rebekah Mercer is funding Parler, the social-media app touted by Republican politicians and pundits that conservatives are flocking to



Robert Mercer et al. posing for the camera: Rebekah Mercer and her father, Robert Mercer, have funded conservative causes in the past, and were among the most influential backers of President Donald Trump in 2016. Patrick McMullan/Getty Images


© Patrick McMullan/Getty Images
Rebekah Mercer and her father, Robert Mercer, have funded conservative causes in the past, and were among the most influential backers of President Donald Trump in 2016. Patrick McMullan/Getty Images

  • At least one member of the Mercer family is funding Parler, the social media app touted by Republican politicians and pundits, according to The Wall Street Journal.
  • Parler CEO John Matze confirmed to The Journal that Rebekah Mercer has been one of the top investors in the company since its founding in 2018.
  • “John and I started Parler to provide a neutral platform for free speech, as our founders intended,” Mercer wrote in a post on the site following The Journal report.
  • Mercer and her father, Robert Mercer, have funded conservative causes in the past, and were among the most influential backers of President Donald Trump in 2016.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

At

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‘Free speech’ social media platform Parler is a hit among Trump supporters, but experts say it won’t last

Parler, a Twitter-style social media platform, has gained popularity mostly among President Donald Trump’s supporters and right-wing conservatives after the 2020 presidential election, but experts told ABC News they believe it’s unlikely the platform will grow any further.

“They have this echo chamber and they can’t trigger anyone or target anyone because everyone believes what you believe,” said Fadi Quran, campaign director at Avaaz, a global civic organization that studies misinformation. “It gets boring to be sharing the same type of hate, and so they end up having to come back to the top five social media platforms.”

Parler was founded in 2018 by John Matze and Jared Thomson, two Nevada-based conservative programmers. The app receives financial backing by Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of Robert Mercer, a hedge fund manager and the co-founder of Cambridge Analytica, who revealed her involvement in a post on the app on Sunday.

“John and

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Parler Is Unsurprisingly Backed by Conservative Megadonor

Parler, which describes itself as an “unbiased” social media platform, has experienced a surge of growth following the U.S. presidential election.

Parler, which describes itself as an “unbiased” social media platform, has experienced a surge of growth following the U.S. presidential election.
Photo: Olivier Douliery / AFP (Getty Images)

Parler, the social media network that describes itself as the “world’s premier free speech platform,” which is apparently another way to say a space for misinformation and conspiracy theories like QAnon, is unsurprisingly backed by conservative megadonor Rebekah Mercer, the Wall Street Journal has found.

In a Saturday report, the Journal stated that Mercer was the lead investor in the social media company at its onset and that her support was contingent on Parler allowing users to control what they see. On its website, Parler boasts that it allows its users to “moderate [their] own world,” or customize what they want or do not want to see in their own feed while letting others decide for themselves what

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