How Parler, a Chosen App of Trump Fans, Became a Test of Free Speech
Parler slowly grew until early 2020 when Twitter began labeling Mr. Trump’s tweets as inaccurate and some of his supporters joined Parler in protest. Parler grew even faster after the November election when Facebook and Twitter made false claims that the vote had been rigged. So many users signed up that they intermittently overloaded the company’s systems, forcing it to stop new registrations.
Overall, users downloaded the Parler app more than 10 million times in the past year, 80 percent in the US, according to Sensor Tower, the app data company.
Last Wednesday, Mr Trump encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol to pressure lawmakers to overturn his loss of the election, which resulted in a rampage that killed five people. The rally was planned on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere. At Parler, people gave advice on which streets to take to avoid the police. Some reported carrying weapons in the Capitol.
In an interview with the New York Times, hours after the mob stormed the Capitol, Mr. Matze said, “I don’t feel responsible for any of this, and neither does the platform, considering that we’re a neutral city square where only the law is held. “
On Friday, however, Apple and Google Parler announced that posts that encourage violence would need to be removed more consistently. By Saturday, Apple and Google had removed Parler from their app stores and restricted the ability to reach new users on virtually all smartphones in the world.
“There is no place for threats of violence or illegal activities on our platform,” Apple said in a statement. Google said, “We require apps to implement robust moderation for massive content.”
Late on Saturday, Amazon announced to Parler that it needed to find a new place to host its website. Amazon said it sent Parler 98 examples of posts on its website encouraging violence, but many stayed online.