Social media platform Parler grows in popularity for its hands-off approach to content regulation
Parler, which describes itself as a ‘free-speech driven’ platform, is gaining huge traction but experts are worried that it could amplify fake news and misinformation.
The rising popularity of a two-year-old social networking platform has raised concerns over the spread of misinformation and fake news following the US presidential election. Called ‘Parler', the social networking platform is said to have a huge user base of Donald Trump supporters. Experts worry that Parler's hands-off approach to content regulation could propel the spread of misinformation.
Parler: A brief intro
Launched in August 2018, Parler is a US-based micro-blogging and social networking platform. It has been founded by John Matze, who describes himself as a libertarian. Matze says Parler is a bipartisan platform, reports Reuters.
The alternative social media app claims to provide “real conversations”, “free speech”, and “privacy.”
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“Speak freely and express yourself openly, without fear of being “deplatformed” for your views. Engage with real people, not bots. Parler is people and privacy-focused, and gives you the tools you need to curate your Parler experience,” says Parler on its website.
Apart from a verification process, Parler offers basic social media features such as following public figures, content personalisation, and weekly updates on news, site announcements, and more.
Parler: Growth and concerns
Parler recently received funding from hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter and conservative activist Rebekah.
The application raced to the top of Apple's trending apps list following the US election. Its downloads increased by 2,000% between November 7 and November 7. On November 9, its downloads went past 500,000.
According to The Guardian, Parler's sudden growth is mainly due to aggressive content policing by the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
During and after the US presidential elections, Twitter went on to flag many tweets from Donald Trump. Facebook also took down a few prominent pages linked Trump's former advisor Steve Bannon. The move impacted at least seven pages that had more than 2 million followers. The content policing, often called biased by some of its critics, is leading to the influx of users.
Many high-profile conservative social media personalities, in the meantime, have encouraged people to leave Twitter and Facebook and instead follow them on Parler, reports The Verge.
Uncensored and unfiltered, come join us on Parler -> https://t.co/0XNPUZPnE3 pic.twitter.com/DaAnNPQWkG— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) November 15, 2020
“Can we now move everybody from Twitter to Parler?” Fox News host Sean Hannity said on air earlier this week. “Can we just make the shift together? Just say, ‘goodbye, Twitter. See ya at Jack [Dorsey]. Nice try.' ”
Since Parler takes a completely hands-off approach to content regulation, experts have warned that the platform could amplify conspiracy theories, fake news, misinformation and more.
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