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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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

Conservatives warn culture, political wars will worsen

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The verdict is clear: The vast majority of Republicans will stand firm with former President Trump. The next phase is clear, too: Republicans are rallying around a common grievance that big government, big media and big business are trying to shut them up, shut them out and shut them down. 

Why it matters: The post-Trump GOP, especially its most powerful media platforms, paint the new reality as an existential threat. This means political attacks are seen — or characterized — as assaults on their very being. 

5 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

5 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

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