KIM KOMANDO

What is Parler and is it the social media network for you?

Nov 15, 2020, 5:00 AM
(Pixabay Photo Illustration)...
(Pixabay Photo Illustration)
(Pixabay Photo Illustration)

Our 2020 presidential election proved one thing: America is split half conservative, half liberal.

The conservative half is fed up with Twitter and moving on. These users are tired of Twitter’s algorithms and corporate management regulating speech on its platform.

A two-year-old Twitter-Facebook alternative has suddenly exploded to become America’s No. 1 downloaded news app. Parler, which is French for “to talk,” was set up to be a nonbiased, free speech-driven platform. While it’s supposed to be pronounced “par-lay,” the world has settled on “par-lour.”

Is Parler pro-conservative?

On its site Parler says, “Parler is for the curious, creative, and objective individual. We are here for everyone that wants to have a dialogue from all sides.”

While Parler was not established as a conservative-only platform, most users are right-wing.

Big names are on board with accounts. While Donald Trump is not yet a member, Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric are. So are Rudolph Giuliani and other heavyweight conservatives such as Sean Hannity, Ted Cruz, and Mark Levin.

News organizations including Breitbart, The Daily Caller, and The Epoch Times are active on the site, too.

How Parler is like Twitter

Functionally, Parler is almost identical to Twitter. If you have used Twitter, jumping into Parler is nothing. There are merely new icons and action words.

Instead of tweets, you have “parlays.” Instead of retweets, you have “echoes.” You “upvote” a post to show you liked it.

You can post GIFs, photos, and memes as well as follow accounts and use hashtags. Parler posts are almost triple the size limit as Twitter, or up to 1,000 characters. You can block or mute other users, too.

Much like other social media platforms, you create a profile when you sign up. Your photo, background image, and a short bio are available for other members to view.

There is the option to “Get Verified” that provides Parler Citizen status. This step requires you to use your webcam to take a photo of an ID card’s front and back, say your driver’s license. Then, you submit a selfie taken with your webcam.

Once approved, your profile will show a red Parler badge telling other users that you are a real person and not a bot. At this point, you no longer have to display your name publicly. A gold badge identifies public personalities.

Like other social media sites, you have to be at least 13 to sign up and a phone number is required to verify accounts and users.

At no time are you asked your political affiliation.

How Parler is different

Unlike Twitter, which regulates content shared on the platform using internal company policies, Parler bases its user guidelines on the FCC’s obscenity definitions. Strictly put, this asks whether a post “is sexual in nature,” “is offensive,” and “Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.”

Parler relies on its users to report inappropriate content and posts that violate its guidelines. They don’t have any employees or third-parties fact-checking posts. Verification is strictly community-driven.

Compared to other social media sites, Parler’s six-page PDF privacy policy is straightforward and easy to understand. They spell out clearly what they plan on doing with the information they collect about users.

I bet it won’t surprise you to hear social media apps are among the most greedy when it comes to profiting from your data. Tap or click to see which ones vacuum up and sell the most of your personal information.

There is no advertising on Parler, yet. But their privacy policy states your data collection can be used, “For marketing and advertising purposes, such as developing and providing promotional and advertising materials that may be relevant, valuable or otherwise of interest to you.”

I joined Parler last June to learn more about the site.

I’m probably not the perfect user, as I don’t feel a compelling need to interact or even visit Parler.

I’ve been purposefully limiting my time across all social media and finding the break incredibly refreshing. It’s something we all need to do from time to time. Try it!

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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What is Parler and is it the social media network for you?