Parler: What is it and why brands shouldn’t be quick to dismiss it?

It’s no secret the drama surrounding the US election this past week has been playing out across social media worldwide. While most have taken to Twitter and Facebook for their political conversation, a new platform has emerged that’s raising a lot of questions for brands: Parler.

Conservative politicians and news personalities have been the primary drivers of Parler. While Twitter and Facebook continue to ramp up fact-checking, Parler promises the opposite: zero censorship.

What is Parler?

Parler is a Twitter-style social media channel that launched in 2018. The interface is built around a curated newsfeed based off individuals a user follows. Unlike Twitter, you get up to 1,000 characters per post vs. 280.

A big distinction between Twitter and Parler is its claim to be a “non-biased, free speech social media focused on protecting user’s rights.” There are community guidelines, however, they are very vague at best. Users on Parler claim that Twitter and Facebook’s recent flags and attempts to stop “misinformation” are causing bias and a big reason they are switching over.

Parler is not the first “free speech” social media platform to exist, but many have struggled to catch on widely. Notably, according to the New York Times, Parler doubled its user based to nearly 8 million in just one week, and it holds the top spots on both Apple’s and Google’s app stores making this one feel different.

The numbers are impressive, but it’s important to keep in mind Twitter has 330 million users and Facebook has over two billion. Going through the content volumes, the unfiltered landscape has also lent itself to a barrage of spam, which has caused some users to return to Twitter complaining.

Should Brands Be Monitoring Parler?

While there is still skepticism that Parler will have a mass migration from Twitter or Facebook, brands should still consider keeping an eye on things as the audience continues to grow. A brand can become viral on Parler the same way they can on other social channels via hashtags.

One major concern for brands is the spread of unfounded conspiracy theories and misinformation. In our opinion, even more reason for a brand to be paying attention to stay informed for any potential PR implications. It’s important that everyone be mindful Parler’s interpretation of “free speech” is also being interpreted differently depending on the source, so ethical questions are coming into play as well.

While there is not a tool that can pull in mentions of Parler quite yet, a brand can consider manually checking their namesake’s hashtag at least three times per day. At this time, volume for most major brands remain relatively low, but we expect that to continue to increase if momentum continues and as we know in social, any small flame can become a wildfire.

At ICUC we know new social media platforms emerge all the time. Whether through a tool or manually, our team is equipped to help support monitoring across any social channel. If you need support on Parler or elsewhere, be sure to contact us.

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