Nov 9, 2020 - Technology

Right-leaning social network Parler tops free app charts

A photo of a laptop user visiting Parler's website
Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Parler, which calls itself a "viewpoint-neutral" social network and is growing popular among conservatives who feel mainstream social platforms are censoring them, is now topping the free app download charts, according to both Apple and Sensor Tower.

Why it matters: With Twitter and other mainstream social media apps more strictly enforcing rules against election-related falsehoods, more permissive, often right-leaning platforms have seen a surge of interest.

  • The app for Newsmax, a right-leaning news network, also began surging on the download charts after all the major networks, including Fox News, called the election for Biden.
  • It remains to be seen if the gains are more than temporary, but the shift has certainly raised eyebrows.

Context: Twitter has been far more aggressive in recent weeks against election-related misinformation, labeling tweets that falsely claimed victory or offered unsupported claims of election fraud.

  • Twitter also permanently banned an account tied to Steve Bannon after he encouraged the beheading of NIAID director Anthony Fauci and the head of the FBI.

Between the lines: Moving to an alternative platform is a mixed bag, offering newcomers looser rules but also, at least for now, a smaller audience more likely to be comprised of already like-minded individuals.

What they're saying: "People trust Parler because Parler trusts people. We welcome all to join our platform which emphasizes free speech and open discourse," Parler founder and CEO John Matze said in a statement.

Go deeper