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Conservative social media site Parler shoots to the top of the download charts postelection

November 9, 2020, 7:34 PM UTC

As Twitter has gotten increasingly aggressive about policing election-related misinformation in recent weeks, conservatives are turning to a small alternative site called Parler.

Over the weekend and on Monday, Parler was the most downloaded free app on Apple’s U.S. mobile app store and on Google’s U.S. Play store for mobile apps. It’s more popular than TikTok, Zoom, and YouTube.

The Parler apps had a total of almost 1 million installations from Nov. 3 to Nov. 8, pushing total installs to date to 3.6 million, research firm Sensor Tower said.

Parler says it has roughly 8 million members now, up from 4.5 million a week ago. “Parler is a breath of fresh air for those weary and wary of the way they’ve been treated by our competitors,” Parler chief operating officer Jeffrey Wernick says. “And now that many of their friends are already on Parler, they’ve decided it’s worth their investment of time to give us a try. We plan to earn their continued business.”

Some conservative commentators have urged their supporters to move from Twitter to Parler amid Twitter’s recent moves to add warning labels and delete tweets about the election.

For example, on Saturday, President Donald Trump tweeted that he had won the 2020 election and alleged without evidence that millions of votes for his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, were fraudulent. Twitter left the tweets up but added a red warning label that said, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.” Facebook removed a group called “Stop the Steal” that was posting similar charges.

Parler allowed the same kind of posts without any labels. People supporting “Stop the Steal” remained active on the site, and a related hashtag had 58,000 posts on Monday.

Founded in 2018 by University of Denver graduates John Matze and Jared Thomson, Parler takes a decidedly different approach to controversial posts than its larger social media rivals. In a September statement, the site pledged to offer “uncensored, real-time election coverage” that would “honor the right of all individuals to speak and hear freely, and to decide for themselves what to think.”

Overall, the site has a largely conservative slant, suggesting users follow conservative commentators like Sean Hannity, Dinesh D’Souza, Mark Levin, and Dan Bongino as well as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

Still, conservatives have not abandoned Twitter completely. Senator Cruz had a dozen original and retweet posts over the past 24 hours on Twitter, where he has 4 million followers. He posted just two times during the same period on Parler, where he has 2.8 million followers.

(This article was updated on November 10 with comments from Parler.)