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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

Ina Fried, author of Login
Jan 13, 2021 - Technology

Amazon says violent posts prompted Parler shutdown

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In a court filing late Tuesday, Amazon said it booted right-wing social network Parler from its AWS cloud service after flagging dozens of pieces of violent content starting in November.

Why it matters: Parler is suing Amazon, saying its expulsion violates antitrust laws. In its response, Amazon cites the violent content as well as its protection under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act among its defenses.

GOP digital operatives aim to avoid "deplatforming"

Photo Illustration: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Republican digital operatives are worrying about themselves and their clients after major technology companies cracked down on prominent conservative websites and organizations.

Why it matters: Amazon’s decision to remove the popular conservative social media site Parler from its hosting services, and Twitter’s suspensions of President Trump and tens of thousands of his supporters, have segments of the online right fearing they will be "deplatformed" themselves.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

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