Jim Bray's Car & Tech rants - publishing online exclusively since 1995

Twitter gets some competition that promises to welcome conservative voices

By Jim Bray
June 4, 2020

There's a new, well, newer, social media outlet in town and the folks behind it are looking for a scalp named Twitter.

It's Parler, founded in 2018 and which bills itself as "the People-driven social platform," claiming a user base of a million people. That's undoubtedly chicken feed compared to the number of folks being forced currently into Twitter's liberal gulag, but it's also nothing at which to sneeze.

It appears to be a pretty pugnacious platform, too. I'd never heard of Parler before the company sent out a series of press releases last week, one of which condemned Twitter's labelling of a couple of President Donald Trump's tweets as "misleading information." Twitter, you may remember, got all a-twitter over the President pointing out that mail-in voting – a scheme being pushed hard currently by Democrats who'll do anything to get the world back to its headlong rush toward socialism – heightened the risk of election fraud. 

So, to show the unwashed masses just how credible Twitter is, the Twits in charge enlisted fake news Washington Post and CNN as their credible sources. It is to laugh.

Oddly enough (to those incapable of conscious thought), Twitter appears to see no problem with Antifa or other left wing groups and, to the best of my knowledge as of the time of this writing, isn't inserting its own editorial slant and censorship to the folks who appear to ride the same ideological train as the Twits.  

Seems, then, that Twitter isn't any kind of public square, town hall, or place for the open and free exchange of information and ideas. And that's fair enough: Twitter can do what it wants with its platform. I only object to the feigned non-partisanship – the same crap being spewed by most of the mainstream media, with its constant barrage of left-wing indoctrination pushed as actual balanced information.

That tactic, however, opens up other opportunities, and that, undoubtedly, helped spur Parler. "Twitter is not a public square, not a place for dialogue or the free exchange of ideas, and certainly not Social Media," said Parler Strategic Investor Jeffrey Wernick in one of last week's press releases. "Twitter is an agenda-driven publisher. Like other Technofascists, they prey on their users, mining their data, dehumanizing them, and feeding them propaganda to demonize those with whom they philosophically disagree. Joseph Goebbels would be Proud. Twitter is leading a digital inquisition against us, The People."

Pretty powerful stuff. And, yes, the guy does have a vested interest in seeing Parler take some of the twit out of Twitter, but that doesn't necessarily make him wrong. In fact, I agree with him (otherwise I wouldn't have bothered with this column…).

Parler says the platform is committed to free speech and does not mine or sell user data, nor does it censor content based on politics or ideology. As the press releases said "Parler continues to stand with the People and against Technofascism."

They're marketing their new push as "Twexit" which, on the heels of such other "exits" as Brexit and Blexit (now, let's have a Wexit for Alberta!), made me chuckle. They've even launched a Twexit website (www.twexit.com), which they say lets disgruntled Twitterers switch to Parler at the push of a button.

It doesn't seem quite that easy, though. You first have to create a Parler account, which includes giving them your phone number to receive a text message with your verification code. I did that a couple of days ago and am still waiting for my code to be phoned in – which should be interesting because I gave them my land line number and it doesn't have texting capability built in like my cell phone does. Guess I screwed up, but you'd think they'd fire me off an email or something.

But no, nothing yet.

Parler claims that more than 100,000 angry former Twitter users have made the switch already, and Parler CEO John Matze says the numbers growing quickly. "Millions of Twitter users are quite simply fed up with the bias and censorship that has now become the Twitter trademark," said Matze. "So, they are Twexiting to Parler, where we are free to have a real conversation."

Matze also charged Twitter with violating "the most basic rules of Free Speech," and said the attack on Trump merely sped up what he said was already a growing trend of subscribers leaving Twitter and turning to the open-ended Parler forum.

"Americans are sick of Technofascists and their censorship" said Matze. "And that's why the Twexit movement is now in full swing. Parler is the place for free minds to have a free conversation."

I guess that means we can't expect to see Parler's poohbahs compare Kellyanne Conway to Joseph Goebbels, like Twitter's head of site integrity, Yoel Roth, did, claiming that the Trump White House consists of "actual Nazis". And the pajama boy was apparently only getting warmed up.

To further stick it to Twitter and its head cheese Jack Dorsey, Parler also published an open letter to him, basically going up one side of him and down the other. Here's a sample:

"Dear Jack:

I want to thank you – not only on behalf of Parler, but also on behalf of the hundreds of millions of Americans to whom you have now, at last, made abundantly clear that Twitter is not their forum.

It is your forum.

Where your left-wing views predominate.

And theirs are only allowed if they properly align with own radical political bias."

The letter goes on to point out that Dorsey himself conceded Twitter's tilt on CNN nearly 18 months ago when he announced that Twitter is, indeed "left-leaning." He then backtracked a tad, according to Parler's letter, by adding quickly that "we do not look at content with regards to political viewpoint or ideology. We look at behavior."

A nice dig in the letter comes when Matze asks Dorsey if he got CNN and WAPO to fact check Roth's January 2017 remarks quoted above, about "actual Nazis in the [Trump] White House." I think it might leave a mark – or it might if the left had any conscience or shame.

Matze closed his open letter (can you do such a thing as close an open letter? I'm confused!) by noting that Twitter's stock is "plunging," its follower ranks are "tanking," and Parler is "skyrocketing."

I have no idea how true those statements are, but it certainly sounds as if a social media gauntlet has been thrown down.

As mentioned, I've tried to sign up for Parler but since I haven't used it yet I have no comment on how it compares with Twitter, other than its undoubted smaller reach than the Twit giant (for now, anyway, eh?). And I don't tweet much, anyway, so I'm not the best one to opine about that platform either, other than the fact that it's obvious that it leans even more in one direction than a certain tower in Italy does.

But isn't it nice to see a company come along and not only try to upset the conventional social media apple cart, but to actually offer an open and free forum in fact instead of just in name?

Assuming it actually does (and I have no reason to doubt them as of this writing), I wish them well.

Copyright 2020 Jim Bray

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