A number of social media posts have surfaced recently looking to point out how the Parler smartphone app was quick to ban them after they joined. Parler is a relatively new social media service that claims to emphasize free speech, and has gained a significant number of users in the past week. The service is now often referred to by supporters as a free speech alternative to Twitter.
Twitter is a place where many go to keep up to date on news or express their thoughts. However, the platform has been changing recently and many of these changes have resulted in some feeling as though they are being silenced or shut down. As a result, Parler has emerged as an alternative solution for those users and especially, as it seems to welcome free speech.
In spite of its claims, a number of people have taken to Twitter recently to explain they attempted to join the service only to find themselves being banned again. It is not just the frequency of the reports but also the speed of bans that is raising concerns. While Twitter has made it clear that it won’t allow certain topics to be discussed on the platform, those who advocate for Parler specifically point out how it doesn’t discriminate based on viewpoint. For example, Founder and Co-Chairman of Students For Trump, Ryan Fournier described Parler as somewhere “you don’t have to worry about getting censored or banned because you think differently than who runs it.”
With a sudden uptick in new users, there are plenty of people reporting positive experiences with the service and advising others to give it a try. However, there are also those who claim to have been banned already. Some, like Thor Benson, simply point out that they were banned without providing any additional details or context.
Then there are those like the Devin Nunes’ cow Twitter account that specifically call out the app as censoring users by banning them.
One of the issues with banning claims of any app is that it is rarely as simple as the user reports suggest. For example, while many claim they are being silenced by Twitter, the truth is more a matter of Twitter having changed its policies recently and deciding to take action against those who fail to abide by those changes. The same does not appear to be any different for Parler. For example, a recent post now being shared online by Parler CEO, John Matze, specifically suggests that recent bans have been the result of users not abiding by Parler’s guidelines.
Regardless of the reasons, the message by John Matze would seem to suggest that Parler is not the Wild West version of Twitter many might assume it to be. Likewise, that the rules in place are just as enforced as those by Twitter. Whether or not that means Parler is not quite as free speech-oriented as it claims will probably come down to whether an individual views Twitter’s recent moves as limiting free speech or not.
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