Believes it will surpass Twitter in a year’s time
By Ricky Browne
With Twitter and Facebook censoring the right-wing posts of many Republican supporters — including United States President Donald Trump — many people have started to look for an alternative. Many feel they have found it with Parler.
Although the social media site hasn’t started as a purely conservative one, it is shaping up to be that way and believes it is on target to exceed the popularity of Twitter — at least according to one of its founders.
The CEO of Parler is John Matze, a software engineer and a serial entrepreneur. He is co-founder along with CTO Jared Thomson a computer scientist Both attended the University of Denver in Colorado and are based in Nevada.
“A year from now I think we will have knocked Twitter to be second place to us,” Matze said in a recent interview.
“I know that sounds crazy.,” he said, but noted “we have the momentum. They have given us an inch and we are going to take a full mile.”
The likelihood of that happening seemed less than low back in 2018 when Matze and Thomson created Parler with the tagline “unbiased social media.”
But the site was built to remedy some of the problems associated with Twitter. Parler has less rules — though like Facebook and unlike Twitter, porn is not allowed in any guise — and it emphasizes freedom of speech as its main mantra.
Parler is so named from the the French verb parler, meaning to speak, and should therefore be pronounced ‘par-lay’. But the non-French speaking masses think of it more as a version of parlour or parlor, meaning a room in which you entertain others — so Parler is now often pronounced like parlour instead.
While the social media site has a long way to go before it can approach Facebook or even Twitter in numbers of users it is growing fast.
The site is currently estimated to have more than 10 million people, compared to more than 127 million people on Twitter and more than 2 billion on Facebook.
But it is currently growing at a rate of about 600,00 new people per day, and believes it could be bigger than Twitter in a year.
While most of those people may be conservatives, many are left-of-centre, hoping to argue their cases and hopefully win a new converts. As time goes on, the balance may become more equal.
“We are hands off. The whole idea is that we respect the first amendment” said Matze in a recent interview with the Washington Examiner.
“We don’t sell or share any personal data at all” he said, drawing a distinction between Parler and Facebook, which famously uses data on its users to direct pin pointed advertising to them.
Advertisers, now accustomed to being able to drill down to specific groups or even individuals, are shocked at this he says.
“We don’t share data, we don’t mine data, we don’t give it to anyone.
But despite its protests that it is completely politically neutral, Parler may be hit by an image problem as there is a big push to paint Parler as racist, and criticising if for allowing its users to freely use language that should not be condoned.
If Parler does become a new battlefield in the the war between Republican and Democrat hard-liners, it is possible that the freedom of speech element to Parler will be pushed to its extremes by both sides to make their cases. Its also possible that some of those on the left, if they identify Parler as being a politically biased, pro-republican site, may even try to subvert Parler by planting excessively incendiary comments.
Meanwhile, as US President Donald Trump continues to say that that the election was rigged, his comments continue to be flagged and censored by Twitter. That action drives Republican-supporters to Parler in increasing numbers.
On Parler’s recommended list of people for new account holders to follow are many US conservatives, who are already on the site, people such as Senator Ted Cruz, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Also included is Hollywood actress Kirstie Alley who has come out as a bit Trump supporter in recent weeks.
The Daily Mail, the Rupert Murdoch -owned newspaper is also on Parler. One of its main stories on Parler today was “Candace Owens accuses Obama of ‘hating America’ and says he has ‘turned his back on the country'”. Owens belongs to that group of Americans who believe that Joe Biden is not the President-elect, and that the media is lying to them.
But despite the move of several conservatives to the site, President Trump still relies on Twitter to get his messages out, censorship or not.
The censorship is usually some kind of warning that the message may contain information that is disputed. So a tweet by Trump that says the election in Pennsylvania is unfair for some reason, may require the reader to click through a Twitter warning statement before being able to read it.
“For years the Dems have been preaching how unsafe and rigged our elections have been. Now they are saying what a wonderful job the Trump Administration did in making 2020 the most secure election ever. Actually this is true, except for what the Democrats did. Rigged Election,” tweeted Trump earlier today.
The tweet had 100,000 likes in 30 minutes and 27,000 retweets and 25,000 comments.
But the tweet also carries a large blue exclamation mark and the warning “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”
No such flags would happen on Parler.
He may be tempted, but even if Trump does open an account on Parler, he is hardly likely to leave Twitter. Republican senator Ted Cruz currently has more than two million followers on Parler. But that fades in comparison to Trump on Twitter, where he has 89 million followers. His comments may be flagged, but his popularity is not flagging at all.
But it is this kind of censorship that has been pushing more people to flock to Parler, especially since the election. And as the division between Democrats and Republicans widens further, it is likely that Parler will be attracting a greater number of the more than 70 million people who voted Republican in this disputed election.
At the same time, its unlikely that Joe Biden will be joining any time soon, And nor will many of his supporters — except for those who want to speak directly to Republicans.