June 25, 2020
Conservatives urge move to 'free speech' platform Parler in protest over Twitter censorship
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz even made a promotional video for the social network
Prominent conservatives have launched a campaign on Twitter urging users to switch to Parler, a competing platform marketed as a "free speech social network."
The movement gained steam this week — with Parler gaining a 50% surge in users — after Twitter permanently suspended the account of a popular conservative meme maker, shut down the account of a wide-reaching conservative pundit, and suppressed a tweet from President Donald Trump for the second time.
Mediaite reported that on Tuesday, Twitter "banned Carpe Dunktum, a well-known meme creator whose content is often shared by President Donald Trump, and locked an account belonging to National Pulse editor Raheem Kassam. Those actions sparked outcry from conservatives who encouraged users to join Parler."
The Washington Examiner compiled a list of tweets from conservative politicians and other influencers who urged their followers to join them on Parler in the aftermath, including Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), commentator Dan Bongino (who owns a stake in the network launched in 2018), and pundit Jesse Kelly.
On Thursday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) even released a video on Twitter promoting Parler, saying the "platform gets what free speech is all about."
Notably, none of the conservatives pushing for a move to Parler appear to have shut down their Twitter accounts voluntarily at this point, but the campaign appears to be making an impact.
Over the course of just a few days, Parler went from roughly 1 million users to 1.5 million, according to data from the company provided to Mediaite. But those looking to punish Twitter for its censorship still have quite a hill to climb, considering the social media giant currently has about 330 million users.
Parler also has its critics. Jewish News website Forward said last year that the platform "is full of fury, fear and conspiracy theories." The outlet noted at the time that active users included "every member of the Trump campaign and Utah Senator Mike Lee."
A number of provocative conservative figures banned by Twitter are active on Parler, too, including conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, activist and journalist Laura Loomer, and British media personality Katie Hopkins.