As soon as Twitter started fact-checking and hiding President Trump's tweets, the familiar call came out to find a better app: One where everyone can speak their mind without fear of censorship. Or something.
There have been many contenders over the years, from Gab to MeWe, but it looks increasingly like Parler is going to win.
Parler's been the most popular free app on both iOS and Android for the last several days, besting even chart-topping mainstays TikTok and Zoom. Evidently the key to app success is some combination of "be essential" and "be controversial."
A who's who of conservative celebrities, led by Parler patron saint (and investor) Dan Bongino, have been telling their followers on Twitter and elsewhere to jump to Parler. Many of them are saying things like, "I'm about to get kicked off Twitter, follow me on Parler!" Mostly, that wasn't true, but it seemed to work: Parler's been "adding thousands of users per minute," Bongino said.
John Matze, Parler's CEO, made clear that his platform will treat politics differently. "I don't think it's possible for Twitter to say with a 100% fact that there's not one mistake in the election and that there is not one fraudulent vote so fact checking the president on all of this is pretty ludicrous," he said.
The other app to keep an eye on?Rumble, a video platform positioning itself as a similarly free speech-friendly alternative to YouTube. "Buh-bye big tech, you just made yourselves the next Friendster and Myspace," Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski tweeted over the weekend.
No platform can be crowned the new conversative home, though, until Trump himself shows up. And so far, no dice. But that could change: Trump will lose his "public interest" protections on Twitter in January, The Verge reported, meaning he'll be subject to the same rules as the rest of us. And I think most of us would've been suspended if our timeline looked like his.
David Pierce (
@pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.