|Type of business||Private|
Type of site
|Social networking service|
|Alexa rank||23,425 (Global, June 2020[update])|
|Users||1.5 million in June 2020 (self-reported)|
Parler is a United States-based microblogging and social networking service launched in August 2018, promoted as an alternative to Twitter and particularly marketed to political conservatives in the United States.
Parler (French: parler, lit. 'to speak') was founded by CEO John Matze in Henderson, Nevada in 2018. Matze graduated from University of Denver in 2014 with a computing degree. Its rollout was in August 2018.
From December 2018 through 2019, the service's user base grew after prominent politically conservative personalities, among them Brad Parscale, Senator Mike Lee, and activist Candace Owens, signed up to and publicized the network to their social media followers on other platforms. Gavin McInnes and Milo Yiannopoulos have also joined. Parscale had met with Matze in early May 2019 prior to signing up. Other users include conservative personalities banned from Twitter or other networks.
According to Matze, as of May 2019, Parler had about 100,000 users. Parler said its user base had more than doubled in June 2019 when around 200,000 accounts from Saudi Arabia signed up to the network after allegedly suffering mass censorship and suspensions of accounts on Twitter. Parler described these accounts as part of "the nationalist movement of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia". Twitter had deactivated hundreds of accounts that pushed talking points favorable to the Saudi government, describing them as inauthentic accounts in an "electronic army" pushing the Saudi government agenda.
Donald Trump ally David Clarke Jr. said he would join Parler in March 2020 after Twitter deleted several of his tweets for promoting coronavirus disinformation. Many right-wing and conservative media and political figures joined Parler in June 2020, including Donald Trump Jr., Dan Bongino, Rudy Giuliani, Katie Hopkins, Alex Jones and Ted Cruz.
During the week of June 14, 2020, Parler was inoperable at times due to traffic loads.
Appearance and features
Parler is a microblogging service that has been described by Forbes as a "barebones Twitter" where users register for accounts and are able to follow the accounts of other users. Unlike Twitter, the feed of posts – called "Parleys" – from followed accounts appears to a user chronologically, instead of through an algorithm-based selection process. Parleys made by users are limited to 1,000 characters in length and users can "vote" or "echo" the posts of other users whom they follow, functions that have been compared to Twitter's "like" and "retweet" functions. A direct messaging feature is also built into the platform, allowing users to privately contact each other.
Content and moderation
According to Matze, Parler has minimal moderation with the platform's ethos being "if you can say it on the streets of New York, you can say it on Parler". Matze has specifically said the platform does not engage in fact checking of user posts. He has, however, noted that while the company doesn't proactively moderate content, it might reactively remove offensive posts in response to complaints, citing the example of a hypothetical user who posted the "N word". The site also disallows the sharing of pornography, blackmailing other users, the posting of "fighting words", the glorification of animal abuse, doxxing, promotion of human or sex trafficking, bribery or criminal solicitation, the sale or promotion of substances proscribed by the Controlled Substances Act, impersonation of a real person or company, obscenity as defined by the Miller Test, the posting of images of "sexual or excretory organs", unsolicited advertisements, the creation of accounts by terrorist organizations, or spam (defined by the company as "multiple posts of repeating content").
According to Parler's terms of service, individual users agree to indemnify the company should they post content that is defamatory in nature and that is later subject to a court proceeding.Parler reserving the right to conduct its own defence, at the users expense, The terms of service also include the stipulation that "Parler may remove any content and terminate [the user's] access to the Services at any time and for any reason or no reason".
In late June 2020, multiple users reported that they had been banned by the platform. In subsequent reactions, the users questioned Parler's free speech claims. Some of those banned include notable critics of Republican congressman and Parler supporter, Devin Nunes. In a post dated 30 June 2020 its founder stated that posting photos of fecal matter whenever you disagree with someone; threatening to kill people; or repeatedly spamming people with “fuck you” in every comment would not be tolerated. It has been claimed[who?] that Parler prohibits four of the five things that Twitter allows.[further explanation needed]
According to Slate, the "site's search function barely works, and it has a clunky buffering time". Writing for SiliconAngle, Duncan Riley has observed that "the site and its app are buggy", specifically noting long load times for the Parler website and occasional crashes of the Android app "for no apparent reason".
Registration and verification
Account creation and use of Parler is free and requires a user supply both an e-mail address and mobile phone number for two-factor authentication. At the point of registration, users have the option of supplying a government-issued photo ID to have their account "verified" by Parler and individual users can set their account to only view Parleys from other verified users, if they choose. According to Matze, the purpose of the verification feature is to allow users to minimize their contact with trolls.
Business and finances
According to Matze, Parler is funded by angel investors with a planned expansion seeking to identify additional venture funding. The company's plans to generate revenue are based on an ad matching scheme whereby companies would be matched with Parler influencers to post sponsored content with Parler taking a percentage of each deal.
As of June 2020, Parler had 30 employees. It is organized as a limited liability company, registered in Nevada. The company has not disclosed the identify of its owners; however, Dan Bongino publicly announced in 2020 that he had purchased an "ownership stake" of unspecified value.
User base and content
Parler has attracted Donald Trump supporters, and is noted for its far-right and alt-right, conspiratorial, antisemitic, and anti-feminist content. The site also includes anti-Muslim content, although it also has a user base of Saudi nationalists who support Crown Prince and de facto prime minister of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. Parler is one of a number of social network platforms, including Minds, MeWe, Gab and BitChute, that are popular with people banned from mainstream networks such as Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, YouTube and Facebook.
Both The Independent and news site The Forward have noted the site's antisemitic conspiracy theory content. Matze told The Forward: "If you're going to fight these peoples' views, they need to be out in the open ... Don't force these people into the corners of the internet where they're not going to be able to be proven wrong." Political scientist Alison Dagnes responded "I don't think you can have it both ways ... There is no such thing as civilized hate speech."
Though the site's co-founder and CEO said that he initially envisaged it as a bipartisan platform, Parler has a significant user base of Trump supporters, and figures from the far-right removed from other platforms.
In June 2020, CEO John Matze said he wanted to see more debate on the platform and offered a "progressive bounty" of $10,000 to liberal pundits with at least 50,000 Twitter or Facebook followers who would join the site; receiving no takers, he later increased this amount to $20,000.
Katie Hopkins crowdfunding campaign
British The Apprentice contestant and right-wing commentator Katie Hopkins appeared to join Parler and raised hundreds of pounds of crowdfunding donations in aid of a legal challenge to her ban from Twitter. Susbsequently, it emerged the account in Hopkins's name was not authentic and had been verified accidentally by a Parler staff member. A tweet on Twitter from "The Anonymous Guide" claimed to have infiltrated Parler and "managed to take more than $500 from idiots" before it was taken down. The tweet said it would donate the "take ... to BLM organizations", adding "Eat [expletive], Katie Hopkins. We Are Anonymous." Hopkins later created her own account.
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