While the main social networks chose to block those publications that shared false information and / or that incited violence after the siege of the United States Capitol, millions of supporters of US President Donald Trump turned to Parler.
The so-called “free speech app” has become popular with users who have been blocked from Twitter – a situation that Trump himself finds himself in.
Silicon Valley has decided to stop Trump’s feet on the Internet, eliminating his virtual megaphones in the form of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, now the big technology companies have also positioned themselves against Parler.
Here’s what you need to know about the platform and why it’s been suspended from the major app stores.
What is Parler?
One of its founders, John Matze, a conservative Nevada programmer who calls himself a libertarian, said he created Parler in 2018 to offer a “free speech” alternative to major social platforms.
Users can post “without fear that their opinions will be affected,” according to the social network. Apart from this, two rules govern what is shared: criminal activity or spam is not allowed.
With these principles, the Parler application was successful in the download charts of the Google and Apple stores reaching the first place during the last months of 2020.
Its users increased from 4.5 to 8 million amid the electoral turmoil in the United States; While Facebook and Twitter were dedicated to blocking political disinformation, activity on Parler was 20 times higher than before.
Election protests and the assault on the United States Capitol
Although Trump does not have a Parler account – at least not yet – other relevant conservative political figures have joined the platform, including his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Sean Hannity, a political commentator for Fox News, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. .
Parler is reminiscent of Twitter in many ways. For example, you can re-share your messages with a system very similar to retweeting, and give yellow badges to those who are “verified influencers”, something like Twitter’s blue mark.
In some cases, when posts are banished from the Twitter sphere by failing to comply with the truthful information policy, they have a second life on the new platform.
Because Parler has fewer controls over dangerous content, which Twitter is now struggling to flag and block, messages posted before the Capitol storming by Trump supporters contained calls to arms and violence, with some threads referring to QAnon’s conspiracy theories.
What operating systems have banned it and why?
Amazon said on Sunday it would remove Parler from its web host for breaching its guidelines, meaning the platform could go down if a new host is not found by Sunday night.
The e-commerce colossus movement came after both Google and Apple pulled the app off their online shelves for failing to address threats of violence.
“In order for us to distribute an application through Google Play, we require that applications implement robust moderation for atrocious content,” Google said in a statement.
“In light of this ongoing and urgent threat to public safety, we are suspending the app’s listings from the Play Store until these issues are addressed.”
In response, Matze said: “We will not give in to politically motivated companies and authoritarians who hate free speech.”
Apple argued Parler’s suspension by calling it a platform for “content that threatens the well-being of others or is intended to incite violence or other illegal acts.”
He gave the platform 24 hours to “remove all objectionable content from its application … as well as any content that refers to harm to people or attacks on government facilities now or at any future date.”
Parler was also asked to provide a plan “to moderate and filter this content” from its pages.
Matze introduced himself to Apple, saying it was applying standards to its platform that it did not meet.
“Apparently they believe that Parler is responsible for ALL user generated content on Parler, therefore (sic) by the same logic, Apple should be responsible for ALL actions taken with their phones,” he said.
What does the future hold for Parler, with big tech turning their back on him? Its founder says that Amazon’s snub may mean that the social network is “unavailable” for up to a week, while it is remade “from scratch.”