A new social media app called Parler, which translates directly from French into “to-speak,” has seen a surge in new users (mainly conservative pundits and Twitter regulars) who are currently questioning the outcome of last week’s presidential election in the US. The app, which was founded in Nevada, USA, prides itself as being “the world’s premier free speech platform” and as a major opponent to the big tech social media giants, Facebook, Twitter, etc. that most around the world have become accustomed to. Parler acts as a microblogging website most similar to that of Twitter, where users can converse and interact on any rage of issues, albeit through a less friendly user interface than its competitors.
However, some have argued that the app now serves primarily as an echo-chamber to voice conservative, right-wing political beliefs, which only continues to further divide political discourse between both left and right wing views and opinions. The CEO has urged those with liberal viewpoints to join in an effort to curb this from happening. It remains to be seen just how many users the app will gain in the coming days and months. Although, in recent days it has been rated as number one on both the Google Play Store and Apple Appstore, as conservative voices look to label-warning free alternatives from Twitter and Facebook, which they view as having an anti-conservative agenda.
Ted Cruz, a prominent Republican Senator, has been one of the leading mainstream conservative voices to join the free speech social media movement by promoting the move to Parler, to his more than 4 million Twitter followers.
I’m proud to join @parler_app — a platform gets what free speech is all about — and I’m excited to be a part of it. Let’s speak. Let’s speak freely. And let’s end the Silicon Valley censorship. Follow me there @tedcruz! pic.twitter.com/pzUFvhipBZ
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 25, 2020
The app has seen growing popularity in recent weeks as a result of the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. In the lead up to this year’s presidential election, Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, set the tone to potentially upset centuries of precedence by questioning the validity of the election result (as predicted by Bernie Sanders on The Tonight Show).
When the results were called by many of the major US cable networks and more notably the Associated Press (AP), the president was at his home-from-home, a golf course. Much to the dismay of many, the president did not, and has actually yet to officially concede. Still, results are solidly set in the way of Joe Biden and many world leaders have called to congratulate the president-elect and call for renewed trade and prosperity between nations. This has still not convinced conservatives and high-ranking members of the Republican Party to come to terms with the fact that the presidential race has been lost and that there is no chance of going the way of the president.
This denial of the results has led Republicans and conservative members of the US public to voice their grievances about alleged election fraud or validity via the most-prominent platform for such discussion, Twitter. But as was the case in the lead up to the election, the Tweeting of election results has come with warnings and tags that users should look to official election websites and that what has been tweeted could be disputed, false or still not officially called. This led many of Donald Trump’s Tweets to be labelled as such, which for Trump, obviously did not sit well. The labels and to some extent censorship of right-wing US politicians has led to many taking up virtual arms via the previously lesser-known social media outlets such as Parler.
The recent popularity of this free speech wielding app has arisen purely from Donald Trump’s failure to concede and face that there is no possible path for him to win the election. However, the app has existed for close to 2 years. Outlets such as Parler, or other popular conservative social media apps like MeWe, are providing those with conservative beliefs a space to exchange thoughts, without the risk of being silenced or labeled for spreading misinformation, disregarding the fact that what users are posting could be potentially false or misleading.
Lawsuits aside, it is not yet known just how far Trump will go to throw the entire validity of the race into question, which only continues to stoke conflict online. The election results aren’t even a week old yet, but with a clear 290 electoral college votes (so far), Joe Biden, has been called as the 46th President-Elect of the United States. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris, previously a Senator and prosecutor from California, made history, becoming the first female and mixed race Vice President Elect.