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11 January 2021

After being dumped by Twitter, could controversial social media platform Parler offer Donald Trump a new home

Social media app Parler has been removed from the internet after failing to find a web hosting service over the weekend. 

The two year-old app, the social media platform of choice for conservatives, has now been removed by Amazon, as well as Google and Apple in the wake of the US Capitol riot last week. 

It comes after social media giants have started to crack down on posts containing misinformation and promoting violence, as demonstrated by their decision to shut down Donald Trump’s account following his incendiary comments ahead of the disorder in Washington.

What is Parler?

The ‘free-speech driven’ app is an alternative social network where users can post ‘without fear of being deplatformed for their views’.

The app was very successful during the final months of 2020, making the top-downloaded lists of both Google and Apple’s stores.

The app is centered around a newsfeed of accounts that users can subscribe to follow and posts can be uploaded with up to 1,000 characters, along with images. 

Who uses the app and how many users do they have?

It is most popular among Trump supporters and right-wing conservatives and is a place where users typically turn to if they are banned from Twitter.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz boasts 4.9 million followers on the platform and Fox News host Sean Hannity has around seven million.

Meanwhile, Trump’s son’s Eric and Donald Trump Jr are also active on the app which claims to have around 12 million users.

Who is the app owned by and what has their response been?

The app is owned by American computer scientist John Matze who announced the app will be offline for several days so it can be rebuilt 'from scratch’. 

He also said after the networking giants removed Parler from their stores that they 'won’t cave to politically-motivated companies and those authorisations who hate free speech".

He said: "We will likely be down longer than expected. This is not due to software restrictions... we have our software and everyone's data ready to go. Rather it's that Amazon's, Google's and Apple's statements to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well.

“And most people with enough servers to host us have shut their doors to us. We will update everyone and update the press when we are back online.”

What other options does Trump have now?

Trump has been banned from several social networking sites including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

It was speculated he might head to Parler next, but in the mean time there are several other networks available to him. 

Gab say they have gained around 10,000 users per hour after Trump was suspended from Twitter.

The website says it is a place to ‘champion free speech, individual liberty and the free flow of information online’.

MeWe is another option which is popular among American conservatives and was founded in 2012.

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