A social media app that's soaring in popularity—especially among conservatives and libertarians—didn't just come out of nowhere. The Wall Street Journal reports that Rebekah Mercer, a deep-pocketed conservative donor, played a big role in getting Parler up on its feet. In fact, Parler CEO John Matze says she was the company's top investor when it began in 2018. Mercer said in a post that she and Matze "started Parler to provide a neutral platform for free speech, as our founders intended," adding that the social network came in response to "ever increasing tyranny and hubris of our tech overlords." Business Insider notes that Mercer and her father, billionaire hedge-fund manager Robert Mercer, have backed conservative causes before.
And this one is thriving: It has topped the Apple's App Store and the Google Play Store as the No. 1 free downloaded app, expanded its user base to 10 million, and attracted prominent conservatives like Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo. Conservative talk show host Dan Bongino, who also joined, called Parler's popularity "a collective middle finger to the tech tyrants." That's because Parler, unlike Twitter and Facebook, won't censor content or mine much data from users. Now Alex Jones, "Stop the Steal," and The Proud Boys are among Facebook refugees finding new life on Parler. But can the app succeed when partisan social-media networks like Gab have struggled? Only time will tell. (Look at another venture Rebekah Mercer has supported.)