Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather at a “Stop the Steal” protest after the 2020 U.S. presidential election was called for former Vice President Joe Biden, in front of the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC), in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., November 8, 2020. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Conservative social media sites like Parler, MeWe and Rumble saw an explosion of users since the election. Conservative news app NewsMax also saw a surge of new viewers who now perceive Fox News as “too liberal.” Even with social media sites censoring or labeling posts, conservative content once again dominated posts on Facebook following a brief lull after President-elect Joe Biden’s win. 

There is little doubt these sites have replaced the traditional ways conservative users get their news:  According to a study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, trust in media fell from 25% in 2015 to 13% in 2020 among conservative respondents.

Parler, a microblogging site similar to Twitter, launched to No. 1 on Apple’s App store on Sunday, the day after Biden gave his victory speech. In an interview with Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity suggested fans move over to the new app when Ingraham questioned if Democrat tweets were flagged as most of President Trump’s tweets were during and after the election.

“People from all walks of life, fed up with opaque, biased content curation, inconsistent agenda-driven fact-checking, and manipulative algorithms built on data mining, are joining Parler to speak free,” founder John Matze wrote in a letter to users. Even so, some users complained they were banned and some content expressing contradictory or critical sentiments was removed from the app. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to any users who read the user agreement, which states, “Parler may remove any content and terminate your access to the Services at any time and for any reason.”

Theories on the pandemic, mail-in voting and the general election spread rapidly on social networks. Kate Starbird, a University of Washington professor and online misinformation expert, said that the falsehoods spread about voting fraud will likely linger for years or decades. Starbird also noted that the migration from bigger apps was likely because of the thorough work Twitter and Facebook do to fact-check and remove false content surrounding the election.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Parler Sees Membership Double As Conservatives And Donald Trump Backers Seek Alternative To Facebook, Twitter – Deadline – 11/11/2020
With many conservatives and Donald Trump backers in a lather over heightened scrutiny of Facebook and Twitter posts during election season, social media startup Parler is emerging as a fast-growing alternative. The Henderson, NV-based company, founded in 2018 by computer programmers John Matze and Jared Thomson, says its membership swelled to about 8 million from 4.5 million in just the past week. […] Other social media players like Gab or MeWe have similarly benefited from conservative angst about Silicon Valley’s so-called “censorship,” but Parler’s gains have been the most significant of any alternative outlet to date.

Censorship Epidemic on Facebook, Google, Twitter Drives Users to Alternatives – National Legal & Policy Center – 11/11/2020
But the facts that have now come out post-election have not deterred the platforms’ maniacal censors. Fox News reported that since Election Day, “Twitter has marked at least a dozen tweets from President Trump since Election Day with a disclaimer warning that they may contain ‘misleading’ information about the vote.” […] Biden has not received even a sliver of the same scrutiny by the big social media corporations. […] The CEO of Parler, a social media free-speech alternative to Twitter, has called the recent censorship and warning labels on Trump’s tweets “pretty ludicrous.”

Conservative Social Media Sites Are Creating a Giant Right-Wing Echo Chamber – Vice – 11/12/2020
Despite Bongino’s rather disingenuous pronouncements that people should leave Facebook and Twitter for Parler, it’s clear that there has been a significant spike in users checking out these so-called “free speech networks.” And while these networks don’t pose a danger to the dominance of the mainstream platforms, their growing numbers are creating a right-wing echo chamber where users are exposed to more extremist views and the possibility of being further radicalized. 

Parler CEO Matze: People ‘Fed Up’ with Twitter, Facebook Censorship – Breitbart – 11/10/2020
Parler CEO John Matze on Tuesday reacted to the surge in downloads and usage of his app as many are leaving Facebook and Twitter over the social media giants’ alleged censorship. Matze told Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria” that people are “really just fed up” with what they have seen from Facebook and Twitter “interfering” with the conversation surrounding the 2020 presidential election.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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