NY Social Media Strategist Kris Ruby joined Fox and Friends to discuss Parler, The New Twitter for Conservatives.
DATE LAST UPDATED: July 2021
CONSERVATIVE SOCIAL MEDIA APPS
The rise of free speech social media networks
Conservative commentators are frequently blocked, banned, and removed from Twitter and other mainstream social media platforms. This has led to the rise of other conservative social media marketing platforms like GAB, Parler, or GETTR.
Conservatives are getting banned every day on social media platforms.
Where do you draw the line between freedom of speech and freedom of reach?
FREE SPEECH & SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
Political Media, Right-Leaning Influencers & the rise of Conservative Social Media Platforms
As conservative distrust of social media giants rise, conservatives search for alternative media platforms.
Parler carved out a niche among previously Twitter-banned conservative influencers like Laura Loomer and Milo Yiannopoulos. Now, other companies are looking to cash in on alternative social media platforms for Conservatives after Parlers mixed fate.
If censorship continued on the right they would rise up and create their own social platform. That is exactly what Parler did and I expect other platforms to follow in their footsteps.
Conservatives are attracted to alternative social media platforms because there is a lack of trust in big tech. It’s beyond only creating a Twitter for Trump fans. It is the idea that people are saying you have betrayed our trust and violated it over and over again. We aren’t going to take it anymore.
As VCs see the tremendous opportunity here to create alternative media platforms for fifty percent of the country, there will be a red gold rush.
What is Parler?
Free speech social media networks: what you need to know about Parler.
Parler is dubbed a Twitter alternative for conservatives. More than one million users have downloaded the app since election 2020.
Parler’s Growth Acquisition Strategy:
The growth of conservative social media networks like GAB, Parler
Parler’s strategy for initial users is not necessarily its marketing or PR strategy for the long term. There are a lot of dissatisfied conservatives with big tech, so it’s an easy audience to initially target before this space becomes over-saturated as more players enter the market.
Parler has attempted to rebrand itself as nonpartisan, but it is missing the boat on its core demo and base. Democrats are not necessarily looking for free speech alternative social media platforms because their speech isn’t the speech that is being censored. They don’t have the same pain point that conservatives do.
In my opinion, it is a mistake to cast such a wide net. Apolitical social media users will find it increasingly harder to find a digital home as more social networks increasingly become divided over politics.
Parler represents a social media movement grounded in the quest for free speech platforms.
It is important to understand why people moved to this social media platform. Parler is a movement. It’s not a marketing channel replacement for Facebook. The same is true for Gab. The second either start getting exploited by marketers’, people will leave there too. It’s about being heard and conservatives not feeling silenced and censored.
Those that are active in these communities have already been on Parler and Gab for well over a year. Those who want to jump the fence because they hear about it now were never the target users for either of these platforms because those in the know already knew about them.
Only a select group of conservatives from Facebook will head over to Parler- ie- liberals are not heading to Parler in droves. It’s important to make that distinction. Social media platforms like Parler and Gab are politically minded with a majority of users leaning right.
If your goal is to market or exploit data or to spy on what people are saying on the right or just to hold your handle name, it’s probably best not to join. These are important communities for conservatives and the last thing they need or want this week is to feel like these sites will turn into another Facebook. They were never intended to be a replacement for it- If they were they would have more widespread appeal to people from both parties. They don’t.
Parler was originally called the new Twitter for conservatives. It does not say – Parler- the new Twitter for liberals. Or- Parler- the new Twitter.
Understanding that difference is critical to see the market share and end users these sites want. They do not want all of Facebook’s user base. If they did- that would defeat the very purpose of these apps- people create accounts there because they want to feel free to express a thought without concern of being fired. Mainstream appeal is not what these apps are going for.
Parler Canceled but back again: Is this the end of Parler and other free speech social media apps?
Parler, dubbed Twitter for the right, was recently removed from Apple and Google’s app stores and Amazon will no longer host its servers, effectively shutting it down. It is now back up again, but the big question is, how will this impact others in the space?
The app must comply with content moderation policies that include not inciting violence or physical threats.
CONSERVATIVE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
Conservative-friendly social media networks
You can be shut down by Apple, Google, or Amazon. They are more powerful than the United States Government. If you want to host your app on their platform, you have to abide by their rules, or risk being de-platformed at a moment’s notice.
If the technological infrastructure is created by Silicon Valley tech giants in woke Corporate America, your app won’t stand a chance if it is hosted by platforms that are juxtaposed to your belief system. To combat this, conservative social media apps should be hosted on third-party providers and vendors who do not ideologically disagree with their stance.
Each political party needs its own political platform. The audiences are going to self-sort into the social media network that represents the speech they want to hear. It is clear that these audiences can’t co-exist. Social media has become inherently political and will always be contentious.
Harmonious conversation is not possible, especially with center-right speech on liberal media platforms. Conservatives don’t want to be bombarded by left-wing disruptors on social audio platforms, which is why they continue to create their own social media networks.
Facebook alternative for Conservatives:
Are there alternatives to Twitter or Facebook for Conservatives and Republicans?
What is the best social media platform for Conservatives and Republicans?
Free speech alternative social media platform list + *NEW* Conservative social media apps
Anti-censorship focus poses grave challenges for content moderation
To avoid the mistakes Parler made, a strong content moderation policy is necessary, as well as the digital infrastructure that supports it. Conservative social media apps should not rely on amazon for web hosting.
The First Amendment and big tech censorship.
Parler has recently updated their content moderation policy with a new focus on the First Amendment. They also state that it follows SEC Guidelines. Unfortunately, they needed to implement a strong content moderation policy before it would ever be widely accepted as a social media platform. This should never have been an afterthought, and the damage may be too grave to repair in terms of lost consumer trust and brand loyalty.
[READ] Social Media Regulation: Legal expert on Section 230, social media censorship and the future of free speech on tech platforms.
Can free speech and social media co-exist with the rules and terms of service? Where will Parler users go next?
Free speech social media apps cannot co-exist within the current App Store TOS. If apps want to compete in this space, they have to have their own hosting and digital infrastructure from the ground up. Conservative social media apps will always be directly juxtaposed to the rhetoric in the App Store TOS.
The role social media plays in rallying the troops
Social media plays a critical role in rounding up a political base. But what happens when that base has no access to the information?
The troops will rally on other platforms, and we will see them move to encrypted micro-community platforms, like Discord or Telegram.
If Conservative content creators want to regain control, they need to create an ecosystem of services and goods from the ground up. That also starts with working with vendors and companies that are conservative-friendly that you don’t have to constantly wonder when you wake up if you are de-platformed or if your podcast or app has been pulled because the host or server disagrees with your political ideology.
For example, if you want to grow your conservative podcast following, it needs to be on your own platform from the ground up. Conservatives are serious about creating that content and monetizing it. You can’t host it on a platform whose political ideology is completely opposed to the content you are creating. You will be pulled from AWS or the Apple Store. It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when. At any given moment, you say one wrong thing and it will be pulled. For a conservative content creator, that is not a great place to live in.
It’s one thing for conservatives to talk about this, it’s another thing for them to say, you know what, we’ve had enough and we’re actually going to put our time as content creators into creating this alternative ecosystem and platform. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying it’s cheap. But what other option do we have other than just being pulled off the digital airwaves? Have your business shut down one by one?
Free speech and social media misinformation
There will always be a war between big tech and the war for free speech and social media information. The challenge becomes: who gets to determine what the definition of ‘misinformation’ truly is. Liberal tech giants believe the majority of information coming out of conservative media outlets is misinformation and thus will label it as such. Ideally, any oversight board for Facebook, Parler, or any social media app should be composed of both liberal and conservative leaders to give a fair and balanced view on what is truly deemed misinformation. The left should not have a monopoly on the arbitration of truth.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR | KRIS RUBY | NY CONSERVATIVE MEDIA PUNDIT
The Kris Ruby Show focuses on the politics of big tech. Topics include the rise of new conservative social media platforms like Parler, cancel culture, brand activism, Section 230 of The Communications Decency Act, and Internet Privacy.