Every so often conservatives flock a new social media site. They’re done with Twitter, they say, which censors their posts and only highlights left and liberal voices. Parler is here to fill that sad, panging void.
Parler is essentially Twitter with looser content restrictions. Several prominent right wing politicians, pundits, and personalities have already made their way onto the site and are imploring their followers to do the same. They’re boasting about increased follower engagement, which makes sense, since the platform only has a few hundred thousand users.
Ok, the engagement rate on Parler is actually insane. Seeing 5-10x the rate compared to Twitter.
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) June 24, 2020
The newfound platform’s popularity shot it quickly into Apple’s most-downloaded apps. This is hardly the first time conservatives tried to rally together an exodus from Twitter. A few years ago it was Gab, which was “quickly overrun with extremists and conspiracy theorists shortly after its inception.” But prominent Republican politicians didn’t plug Gab the way they’re plugging Parler, and with the former “all-but-defunct,” there’s clearly a market vacuum for conservatives desperate to whine about censorship and libs.
Parler claims to be non-politically oriented and simply sprouted up to encourage healthy partisan debate. One quick look at a new user’s suggested follows, however, and you see how the site is extremely biased.
If you sign up for the new "unbiased social media" network Parler, here are first accounts-to-follow suggestions it gives you 😏 pic.twitter.com/ZcAUAr7CeE
— Elizabeth Nolan Brown (@ENBrown) June 25, 2020
As if that weren’t enough, Parler is so bereft of left viewpoints that the site is willing to pay $20,000 to the first progressive writer willing to create an account and engage in debate on the platform. It doubled the sum after the initial $10,000 offering was roundly ignored. That’s a fair chunk of change to simply engage in bad faith arguments, so I’ll have to ask the Parler people to hit my DMs (on Twitter, of course).
Still, its offer to progressive pundits underscores Parler’s most fundamental issue—it simply doesn’t have libs to troll (except the Krassensteins, that is). For conservatives (and everyone, really), political Twitter is half about reinforcing biases and half about clowning the other side. Right wingers might enjoy the endless stream of agreement for a week or two, but after awhile they’ll slink back to Twitter, thirsty to dunk on precious “snowflakes” and “Antifa scum.”
High-profile politicians should make Parler viable in the short term. But with god-emperor Trump affixed to Twitter (apparently his campaign teased a Parler rollout but never followed through), the new social media app is left to float in the breeze until it sinks under the same feckless nonsense that drowned Gab and 8chan before it. Until then, at least, it should be marginally entertaining.