Unquestionably mainstream social media platforms have become more proactive in flagging posts by politicians that contain disputed information; for example, between November 4-12, 2020, about 40 of President Trump’s Tweets were tagged with a warning label. This has increased the appetite by some conservatives for a social network where there are less restrictions on what they can say. Post-election, it increasingly looks like Parler is going to be the app to fill that niche; as within the last week alone, Parler went from having 4.5 million users to having more than 8 million users.
To help clarify what Parler is and to what extent it should factor into your brand’s social media strategy, ListenFirst has identified the following 5 facts you need to know about the platform.
Fact #1. Parler Is Essentially A Twitter Clone
In terms of how Parler works, it offers the same basic functionality as Twitter with some small variations. You can upload posts that are text, have images, or video. Unlike Twitter where there is a 280-character limit, posts on Parler can be up to 1,000 characters long. Instead of Tweets, users share “Parleys” that have ‘echoes” as opposed to Retweets. Content can be searched either by People or by hashtags. You can even get verified without being famous on Parler, though it involves sharing your driver’s license or other ID card through your webcam.
Parler is primarily a stripped down version of Twitter as opposed to a different product; with the differentiation being that conservative users are being offered a forum where they don’t have to worry about their political content being censored or annotated.
Fact #2. Parler Offers Free Speech Within Limit
While it’s true that Parler isn’t going to restrict access to a post because they label it fake news; there’s quite a lot of types of content they ban, some of which is actually allowed on Twitter. For instance, Parler’s community guidelines prohibits spam, obscenity, pornography, threatening violence, and defamation. Spam and cursing are examples of speech that is permitted on Twitter.
Fact #3. Structurally, Parler Is Welcoming Mainly To Conservatives
Parler founder John Matze has said he doesn’t want the site to become an echo chamber for conversative voices and he actually offered a $20,000 “progressive bounty” for any liberal pundit with at least 50,000 followers on Twitter or Facebook to open up a Parler account (no one took him up on the offer). However, conservative commentator Dan Bongino is the current owner of the site, and when you open up an account on Parler all of the suggested users to follow are conservative figures like Ted Cruz, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin; along with rightwing-leaning media publications.
The user experience is optimized for conservatives, and unless your brand wants to use social media to share content speaking to rightwing issues; it doesn’t make sense to have a brand presence on Parler at this time. The site is too politicized to try to reach out to conservatives with non-political related messaging.
Fact #4. The Increase Of Social Conversation About Parler Corresponds To Joe Biden Winning The Election
While the election was November 3, it wasn’t really clear until November 5 that Joe Biden was winning in the vote counting, and that corresponds directly to an increase in real-time conversation about Parler on Twitter. Between November 5-17, 2020, there were 2,716,570 Tweets mentioning Parler, a 182% increase from the 964,300 Tweets than mentioned Parler between October 23 – November 4, 2020. The conversation was mostly around Republican leaders and convervative media personalities asking people to follow them on Parler. For instance, Ivanka Trump received 105,782 responses on a Tweet asking for Parler follows; Senator Rand Paul generated 103,591 responses for a Tweet warning people should follow him on Parler before Twitter silences debate, and Fox News anchor Lou Dobbs saw 48,755 responses on a Tweet announcing his show was now on Parler.
Fact #5. Parler Is Associated With Free Speech, But Also Hate Speech
Parler prides itself on being a platform for Free Speech, and the Twitter conversation around the app confirms that messaging is resonating, as between October 17 – November 17, 2020, there were 130,769 tweets mentioning both Parler and Free Speech. However, often that Free Speech is being seen as an excuse to express opinions that are either controversial or in some cases inarguably negative. For example, in the same time period, there were 9,920 Tweets that mentioned Parler and a Conspiracy; 5,025 Tweets mentioning Parler and QAnon; 1,712 Tweets mentioning Parler and Racism; 1,288 tweets bringing up Parler and Hate Speech; and 906 Tweets mentioning Parler and Antisemitism.
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