Parler, a social media platform dedicated to the First Amendment, has become the most frequently downloaded free app in recent weeks as Americans grow increasingly frustrated with Facebook and Twitter’s political bias and censorship efforts.
Americans began downloading the app en masse after Facebook and Twitter called the election for Joe Biden before all votes were tallied. Since November 8th, the number of active Parler accounts has jumped from 4.5 million to over 10 million.
“A year from now, I think we will have knocked Twitter to be second place,” says Parler CEO John Matze. “It sounds crazy, but it’s going to happen. We have the momentum, and now, they’ve given us an inch, and we’re going to take a full mile.”
When asked what sets Parler apart from Facebook and Twitter, Matze explained the site’s “hands-off” approach to user data:
“We don’t collect the data. Any kind of advertising we do is based off of, you know, who you follow…If the person you’re following wants to profit off of their page they can advertise out to their audience. We of course share the profit with them because we’re supplying the service. They’re the ones who brought the attention; they deserve a little bit of the revenue so they can advertise.”
If a Parler user doesn’t want to see an advertisement, all he or she has to do is un-follow that person or company. Users also have the option to apply filters that hide violent or mature content.
Parler itself does not sell or share user data and it does not have a fact-checking department. The company employs just 30 people.
To compare, Facebook and Twitter maintain a combined staff of nearly 50,000 people, including dedicated content moderators. Both sites collect data on users to generate targeted ads. Facebook and Twitter users have no way to customize what they do or do not see.
“John and I started Parler to provide a neutral platform for free speech, as our founders intended, and also to create a social media environmental that would protect data privacy,” says co-founder Rebekah Mercer, daughter of hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer. “The ever increasing tyranny and hubris of our tech overlords demands that someone lead the fight against data mining, and for the protection of free speech online. That someone is Parler, a beacon to all who value their liberty, free speech, and personal privacy.”
High-profile users helping drive traffic to Parler include Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Laura Loomer, Maria Bartiromo, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).