Prominent conservative voices such as Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are urging like-minded Americans to leave Twitter for a new social media platform named Parler.
But in an increasingly fractured nation, is it wrong for conservatives or liberals to sequester themselves in the public square, expanding what some analysts have called an echo chamber of political thought?
To some political analysts, it’s a question worth considering as “Twexit” gathers steam in conservative circles.
Launched by Colorado software developer John Matze, Parler has been around since 2018. The name comes from the French word meaning “to speak,” which is pronounced “par-lay,” although Matze has said it’s evolved into “par-ler.” (But the posts that users make are pronounced “par-lays.”)
Regardless of how you pronounce it, more people are using the app. Matze said last year that the service had 100,000 users; now he says it has nearly 2 million, although Politico reported Thursday that some accounts that appear to represent Congress members are fake.
The venture owes its surge in popularity to two factors: endorsements by popular conservatives, including Lee, who has asked President Donald Trump to join the platform; and recent crackdowns by other platforms on what they consider hate speech and misinformation, which some Republicans see as an effort to silence conservatives.
Trump, who has long used Twitter to communicate directly with his base and mock his critics, is at the center of the action.
Twitter’s decision in May to flag some of Trump’s posts as misleading led the president to order a broad investigation of social media’s legal protections. The executive order was swiftly challenged in court by the nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology. Meanwhile, other platforms, including Twitch and Reddit, have moved to restrict posts by Trump supporters, leading Wired magazine to declare “Social media drops the hammer on Team Trump.”