Petulant Wingnuts Push Parler

Mike Isaac and Kellen Browning, reporting for The New York Times:

But Mr. Levin, Ms. Bartiromo and others did not stop there. They directed their followers to other social media apps and news sites that have positioned themselves as alternatives to Facebook and Twitter. The beneficiaries are Parler, a Twitter-like app that describes itself as the world’s “premier free speech social network,” the right-wing media app Newsmax, and other social sites like MeWe and Rumble, which have purposely welcomed conservatives.

Over the weekend, Parler shot to the top of Apple’s App Store in downloads. As of Monday, it had eight million members, nearly double the 4.5 million it had last week. Rumble said it projected 75 million to 90 million people will watch a video on its site this month, up from 60.5 million last month. And Newsmax said more than 3 million people watched its election night coverage and that its app has recently been in the top-10 daily apps downloaded from Apple’s App Store.

This is what puts the lie to claims that Twitter and Facebook moderating and labeling content is an infringement on free speech. Don’t like Twitter or Facebook’s rules? Use something else.

That said, I have my doubts that Parler, in particular, is going to work very well. I signed up and poked around a few weeks ago, and while it looks and works much like Twitter, conceptually, the content felt like something out of a wingnut-flavored Idiocracy. It wasn’t about the content having a wingnut Trumpian slant, it was that the content all seemed to be generated by crude content managment systems, not by people. It wasn’t people writing tweet-like posts. It was all just auto-posted stuff pushing me to read articles on rightwing sites. I don’t see it taking off.

Then there’s the issue of namespace. Facebook is undeniably dominant, but one aspect of social networking it missed out on is user names. Instagram has user names, too, but when I just see “@username”, I, along with most people, presume it’s a Twitter account. Parler has Twitter-style user names, but there’s no way anyone is going to assume “@username” is a Parler account without explicitly saying it’s a Parler account every single time you mention it.

Here’s Fox News host Maria Bartiromo screwing this up in a tweet as she’s trying to promote her own move to Parler:

This is the same group who abused power in 2016. I will be leaving soon and going to Parler. Please open an account on @parler right away.

@parler, on Twitter, is just some rando who only ever tweeted once, eight years ago. He does have 5,400+ followers now, though.

Friday, 13 November 2020