It calls itself the “freedom of speech” social network and promises to uncensor and respect privacy: Parler has emerged as the right eye of conservatives in the U.S., who see it as the desired alternative to the biased Twitter and Facebook.
From the very moment of signing up, the Internet user can see what kind of content he or she will find: the accounts promoted to follow belong to conservative politicians like Ted Cruz and Devin Nunes or to Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.
They themselves have been encouraging their followers to abandon Twitter and Facebook and join Parler for months. “I am proud to join Parler, a platform that understands what freedom of expression is (…) Let’s talk freely and end the censorship of Silicon Valley,” wrote Senator Cruz, one of the most prominent figures in Parler, on Twitter.
A Boom Since the Election
The company was created in 2018 in Henderson, Nevada, far from the San Francisco Bay Area, where most of its competitors are located, and although it had been experiencing sustained growth since then, the real “boom” has occurred since the presidential elections of last November 3.
Since that date, those in charge assure that the number of Internet users on the platform has doubled and now exceeds 10 million, although it is still a minuscule figure when compared to the 340 million on Twitter or the 2,740 million on Facebook.
Despite the fact that it has been a month since the elections were held, they are still by far the most talked about topic in Parler, with an overwhelming majority of messages claiming that fraud took place, that the Democrats stole the election and that Donald Trump is the legitimate winner.
And although it is taken over by his fans and there are dozens of accounts in his name, the biggest absence in Parler is that of the outgoing U.S. president himself, who unlike his son Eric Trump or his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has no verified account in Parler.
A Twitter-like interface
At the interface and operation level, Parler is very similar to Twitter: the tweets are called “parleys”; the retuits are called “echoes”; you can comment on them and create threads and the homepage shows a trend section and a section of suggested accounts to follow.
The differences focus on issues such as the limit of characters per message (in Parler it is 1,000 instead of the 280 on Twitter) and, above all, the promise that no content will be deleted or accounts sanctioned unless a crime is being committed or spam is being sent.
These are the only two principles included in Parler’s “community guide”, much more limited than those existing on both Twitter and Facebook, which, among other things, prohibit “hate speech or incitement to violence” under which they have justified censorship of American conservatives.