COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - You’ve seen the name in headlines, but what is the seemingly new app that has so many people buzzing?
The app “Parler” now sitting atop the app store and Google Play store is a social media site that says it’s “the world’s premier free speech platform.”
The social media site has been around since 2018 but has gained immense amounts of popularity, specifically with many Republican groups, starting in the summer of 2020 as the presidential election began to heat up.
“Why people are flocking to Parler is quite simple,” University of South Carolina professor Augie Grant said. “It’s because people like to get their information from sources that validate their own beliefs – whatever they may be.”
Some say the app is a better alternative for Facebook and Twitter, which have been criticized for censoring political viewpoints. Nineteen-year-old college student Sofia Fisher says that, for her, Parler also became a safe space for her self-proclaimed conservative friends to share thoughts without fear of retribution.
“I would post on Twitter or Facebook or try and post an ad…and I would get flagged or the post wouldn’t go through…even if it was just an opinion,” Fisher said.
She says she enjoys the posts she’s seen so far and many of the conservative figures she follows are also on the app. For an app with only four million users, well-known conservative political and media figures like Ted Cruz, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity are superstars on the platform with tons of followers.
Like other apps, Parler has a feed of posts that include links and photos. Users can follow one another, and all posts must follow community guidelines, which includes no spamming and no criminal activity.
Parler continues to climb in popularity, and as Grant puts it, the surge isn’t surprising, but it does require everyone who uses it to do their homework.
“Parler, just like Twitter and Facebook, has some good information on it and some misinformation, but it’s up to everyone to decide where they get their information and how they choose to believe it.”