The Right-Wing App That Rocketed to No. 1 After the Election – By Aaron Mak (Slate) / Nov 11 2020
Right now, Parler looks a lot like the reality President Donald Trump is trying to conjure up.
For years, some right-wing pundits have tried to orchestrate a conservative exodus from established social media networks to greener and less fact-checked pastures. Finally, in the aftermath of an election that President Donald Trump is trying to contest in part through a barrage of disinformation, a platform looking to siphon off right-leaning users is now seeing a boom in downloads.
The aftermath of Joe Biden’s election victory saw Parler, a social network “without violence and no censorship,” rocket to the top of the Apple App Store’s download charts over the weekend. Parler is a microblogging platform that closely resembles Twitter with its endless feed of short posts (there’s a 1,000-character limit), verified “influencer badges” for well-known pundits and politicians, and hashtags. The main difference is that the platform is far more permissive when it comes to misinformation and hate speech.
Parler saw more than 980,000 installs in the U.S. in the five days following the election and reached the No. 1 spot in the App Store on Sunday, the day after Biden’s victory was called by most major news organizations. The platform now claims to have about 8 million members. Obviously, that pales in comparison to the major social media players; for comparison, Twitter has 187 million daily users, while Facebook has 1.8 billion. The fact that Parler had enough momentum to claim the top spot could be an indication that a social network for conservatives has finally broken through. But it remains to be seen whether these users will keep flocking to the site, or if they’ll even feel they need to. Conservatives have dominated platforms like Facebook for a while now, and mainstream platforms have only committed to stepping up moderation efforts for the election period.