A peek at the charts for Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store reveals a common theme: Parler is the No. 1 free downloaded app. As it turns out, the trend is a recent one, and it's all tied to Election 2020, reports TechCrunch. Parler is a social media app, and it's emerged as a conservative alternative to Twitter and Facebook. Coverage:
- Numbers: Parler has been around since 2018, but it saw its largest number of single-day downloads—636,000—on Nov. 8, reports the Washington Post. It now has 7.6 million users, up from 4.5 million about a week ago.
- The shift: Right-leaning users of Twitter and Facebook have long complained about what they see as a bias against conservatives, and the election has amplified that. Facebook's decision to ban the "Stop the Steal" page after the election didn't sit well, and Twitter also has been blocking tweets from President Trump and his supporters under its misinformation rules, notes the BBC.
- The rules: Parler doesn't have fact-checkers, and founder John Matze in a recent post accused fact-checkers at Twitter of being "partisan hacks." Parler says its emphasis is on free speech, though it does have rules. For example, no porn, no obscenities, and no promotion of marijuana, per Mashable. Its guidelines also state, "Do not purposefully share rumors you know to be false about other users/people."
- A trend: Parler remains small-scale relative to the social media giants, and while the likes of Ted Cruz and radio host Mark Levin have plugged the site, its reach is limited. Many high-profile users on the right keep their Twitter accounts, too, though they've been flagging followers of late to follow them to Parler if they get the boot. See this tweet from conservative commenter Dan Bongino as an example.
- One take: The big surge in downloads is drawing a lot of attention, writes Ina Fried at Axios, who notes that the app for the conservative Newsmax site also is on the rise. But the key question is whether the surge endures. "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."
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