Parler has done it.
After a massive surge in sign-ups after Twitter had censored and suspended everyone from conservative meme-makers to the President himself, the free speech social media platform known as “Parler” hit number one on the Apple App store’s News section.
It's happening. pic.twitter.com/7Q793KUA2M
— Brandon Morse (@TheBrandonMorse) June 26, 2020
The picture was posted in a parlay by CEO and creator of Parler, John Matze, who called it a community victory over the “tech tyrants.”
“This is our victory as a community for free speech over the tech tyrants,” posted Matze. “This is a symbol that we want a Town Square for free discussion. We the people do not want to be told what to think, we do not want to be manipulated, and we want our data to be private. We reject technofascism and those who think they are the sole arbiters of truth. We reject their biased editorial panels, we reject their “fact checkers” and we reject censorship.”
Parler’s popularity has attracted big names as well as regular users looking for freer, greener pastures. Yesterday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz joined while releasing a video explaining his move and slamming big tech while on his way out.
“That’s why I’m proud to join Parler,” said Cruz. “This platform gets what free speech is all about and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
As its userbase continues to grow by leaps and bounds, the media’s open contempt for it only grows. The Independent and Yahoo both released articles attempting to paint Parler as a hub for neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the oft-used term “far-right” in order to describe the goings-on at the site.
The pattern hasn’t changed much. Newsweek also released a recent article attempting to paint the social media platform as a “safe space for the far-right.”
Likewise, Business Insider has also attempted to paint Parler as a destination for Fringe elements:
In the past, Trump supporters and the far right alike have turned to platforms like MeWe, Gab, and 8kun (previously 8chan). Under the promise of free expression they say isn’t afforded to them on mainstream platforms, users have joined these communities to organize anti-quarantine protests banned on Facebook and to more freely spout fringe views on white supremacy, conspiracy theories, and vaccinations.
At this time, Parler is now home to around 1 million users and growing every day. Its userbase is only going to grow if (more likely when) President Donald Trump himself signs on. There is anticipation around that happening and if it does, you can bet the platform will become flooded with more than just conservative voices. It’s likely the press and media figures will set up accounts there in order to keep track of what the President says and does.
This may cause something of an avalanche effect. The surge of eyeballs may begin tempting various businesses to set up shop on Parler in order to take advantage of free advertising opportunities. The more business is done there the more attractive it will become to more people.
However, some have speculated that the app’s popularity may put it in crosshairs more than spotlights. More than once, users have predicted that Apple will take action by eliminating it from its app store as more media outlets proclaim the network a platform for hate speech.
If Apple has any indication to do this, it hasn’t made mention of it as of this writing. Time will tell, but right now, it’s telling us that Parler is in its own David and Goliath story.