If you’ve been paying attention to the news about a group called Parler, you probably know that it recently relaunched itself after being forced to shut down its online platform, and that its cofounder has been fired. But what are the reasons behind the decision? And what are the ways that it plans to avoid similar mistakes in the future?
Rebekah Mercer fired by Parler
Rebekah Mercer, the conservative mega-donor, has been writing checks to Parler, the social media company she controls, to help finance the relaunch of the platform. But after a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in January, Parler was snubbed by Google and Apple, and its web hosting service was pulled by Amazon. The company’s leadership tried to rally employees by saying they’re engaged in an “existential battle” against threats to free speech.
A report by Bloomberg shows recordings of three Parler all-hands meetings in February. At these meetings, participants said they wanted to fight violence on the site. They also voiced concern about QAnon cult members, who were banned from the platform. Despite the company’s efforts, some users cited the platform as a stage for the Capitol riots.
Parler’s leadership has since tweaked its content moderation policies. Its founders were concerned that their platform could be used by far-right extremists. However, in recent weeks, they have also been trying to woo employees to their cause.
Relaunches after being forced offline for inflammatory posts about the Capitol Hill insurrection
Parler is back, but it will be a while before you can actually use it. It is still offline, but the company hopes to reopen its doors as early as next week. While it’s unlikely that it will attract the crowds that once filled its platform, it is a welcome return for the millions of existing users.
For a social media app, the company had been on a roll. The platform boasted a robust data set of user activity, with its most successful penetration of grassroots political life happening in the second half of 2020. In fact, 84% of posts referring to the hashtag “#1776” took place on or after Election Day.
While it has been a while since the Parler heyday, the app had millions of registered users in November, a number that doubled after the election. Several high-profile conservatives encouraged supporters to register, and Parler’s messaging reached thousands of communities across the country.
Earlier this year, a controversy erupted regarding the moderation practices of online social networking service Parler. It became a popular platform for conservative commentators and far-right activists. After the presidential election, this platform awoke to a tsunami of misinformation.
As a result of the storm, the app was effectively offline for a month. Eventually, it was able to re-launch. However, it was only after it adopted a suite of new content moderation measures.
The parlance of the day is that content moderation involves removing content that is not in keeping with the community guidelines. These guidelines have been modified to include a variety of features including a ‘double-filter system’ which helps to ensure that the user does not see any content that they do not want.
Aside from the ‘double-filter’ feature, Parler also added the ability to mute users. This allows users to block people or posts that they find offensive. Similarly, the company is working to remove spam accounts and bots that could pose a danger to the network.
Parler is a conservative social media site that allows users to express their opinions and view other people’s content. However, the platform has struggled with user growth in recent months. Despite this, it has managed to maintain around 50,000 daily active users. Some of its notable users include the president’s campaign, Sean Hannity, Donald Trump, Eric Trump, and Laura Loomer.
In February, Parler released an app called Truth Social that competes with Instagram. It was initially available in the Apple App Store and had been downloaded more than 100,000 times. But it was not able to make the leap into the Google Play store. This may have been because the site did not receive enough support from Google.
Last month, Parler made a comeback to the Google Play store. However, a report by the Anti-Defamation League revealed that it has been promoting hate speech, bigotry, and violence. Moreover, it has been used by members of the Proud Boys, QAnon, and the white supremacists of the neo-Nazi movement.