NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – An alternative social media network is shooting up the charts in the wake of the presidential election.
Parler is gaining popularity in conservative circles. The company’s website says it’s a place where people can express themselves openly without fear of being “deplatformed.”
“It’s guidelines aren’t to be a conservative platform, but I just think a lot of conservative people have kind of moved that direction,” said Fairview resident Dallas Durham. He joined the site in recent months, but is still deciding if he’ll stick with it.
“We don’t get censored as human beings in life, and we all have those friends that maybe are kind of off the rocker here and there,” Durham said. “As adults we absorb that, and we take out of that what we need.”
“I think the important distinction is that censorship is a government act,” explained Mark Tremayne, an associate professor in the Department of Communication at UT Arlington.
On Facebook, there are a number of events that have popped up over the last week calling for a mass exit over claims of censorship. Meanwhile critics of Parler point to posts containing far right-wing content and conspiracy theories.
“A private company can do what they want,” Tremayne said. “So if you want to use a service that’s being offered by a private company and they put limits on what you can do with on that platform, you can’t cry ‘Oh my free speech,’” He continued. “I mean you can try, but they’re not the government.”
Tremayne said the strategies by the big social media players to tackle misinformation show they’re concerned about being held responsible.
While Durham still hasn’t decided how he feels about Parler, he said he likes the idea.
“We can choose as individuals who we want to have around us and who we want to listen to when we’re having those conversations with our friends, so why should we be restricted from doing that on a social media platform as well.”