What is Parler?
Parler is a social network founded by John Matze and Jared Thomson, two Nevada-based conservative programmers, in 2018. It’s also financially supported by what the Wall Street Journal has characterized as “deep-pocketed investors,” including Rebekah Mercer, who Matze described as a lead investor behind the platform’s launch. The Mercer family’s money and support, for those who may not know, played a key role in Donald Trump’s 2016 election win.
The website bills itself as a “free speech” microblogging alternative to platforms like Twitter. In the founders’ opinions, big tech companies clearly have an anti-conservative bias and censor those views. (Fact check: They do not.)
What makes it different from Twitter?
Parler planted its political stake on day one. The service explicitly describes itself as “a non-biased, free speech social media focused on protecting user’s rights,” a stance meant to fall in line with the oft-repeated (but largely untrue) claims of right-wing politicians and media personalities who believe that Twitter (and, to a lesser degree, Facebook) is unfairly censoring them.
These claims of censorship are usually clearly, demonstrably false, mostly made to garner political support. There are some rare exceptions of total bans, but these are generally linked to a proven history of dangerous behavior. Twitter, for example, banned professional conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from its platform in 2018 after Jones repeatedly broke Twitter’s anti-harassment rules. And this year, Twitter and Facebook both banned QAnon groups, figureheads, and content, citing a litany of real-world, physical harms to which the conspiracy movement is linked.
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