Because Parler was designed as a free speech response to Twitter, many conservatives banned or purged by other platforms have flocked to the new social media company which has roughly 1.5 million users. John Matze and Jared Thompson launched Parler in 2018, as a sort of stripped down version of Twitter with a chronological feed (unlike the algorithms now used by Twitter and others)
Unlike Twitter, which is often hostile to President Donald Trump, Parler has attempted to court him and reserved a handle for him in case he decides to join the platform. In June 2020, after Twitter took further steps to suppress his tweets (through fact-checking and warnings) Trump threatened to pack it in and shift to Parler, although he hasn’t yet.
Although the platform is open to all, conservatives angered by online censorship joined first and currently make up a majority of voices on Parler. “The whole company was never intended to be a pro-Trump thing,” Matze told CNBC. “A lot of the audience is pro-Trump. I don't care. I'm not judging them either way.”
Matze supports defeating bad ideas through dialogue instead of censorship and criticized other tech companies for controlling content through curation and moderation of content. He says his platform is different and without content bias, although there are some rules governing conduct.
“There are going to be no fact checkers. You’re not going to be told what to think and what to say. A police officer isn’t going to arrest you if you say the wrong opinion,” he told Forbes. “I think that’s all people want.”
- Parler CEO John Matze told Fox Business: “There is no censorship of any kind. We do have clear rules about violence, any illegal activity — anything that you couldn’t do in public, you couldn’t do on Parler — but there is no ideological censorship or ideological bias of any kind. People on the left, people on the right — everybody [is] welcome to the site. And I think that’s what makes it such a great community. People understand that this is a place where everybody can have a discussion.”
- Conservative podcast and YouTube host Dan Bongino became a Parler partner with an ownership stake in the company. He has called it “the social media alternative to the tech tyrants which have declared war against conservatism, liberty, and everything we stand for.”
- Conservative commentator Candace Owens was an early adopter of Parler as was conservative, Jewish activist Laura Loomer. Loomer joined Parler after being permanently banned by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, CNET reported. Owens also joined after Twitter booted her.
- Other conservatives on Parler include former Rep. Ron Paul, Rep. Devin Nunes, the Trump campaign, Epoch Times, Daily Caller and Washington Times and the NRA.
- Parler has been criticized for banning trolling leftists as a failure to uphold free speech values. The company defended the decision, citing spamming on unrelated issues with profanity and threats to kill are not allowed.