Free speech has become a hot topic of discussion for the last few years, most recently following the actions of President Trump. In as much as the world would like to appreciate and accept everyone’s views, not everyone is right and or saying morally correct things. It’s all fun and games until users start promoting violence and free speech turns to hate speech. Most apps like Twitter and Facebook tend to frown upon free speech when it crosses significant lines. Cue in Parler, the place where you can say anything and everything.
What is Parler?
It is a social network that pitches itself as a “free speech” alternative to Twitter and Facebook. It launched in 2018 presenting itself as a free-speech haven and an alternative to other social media sites. Here, users can post “without fear of being ‘de-platformed’ for their views.”
A few days ago, the app was doing well and appeared poised to capitalize on growing anger at Silicon Valley in conservative circles. Seeing as Trump was to be banned from all social media apps, it was even a logical choice to become his next outlet.
I mean, there’s no better partnership. By Saturday morning, Apple listed Parler as the No. 1 free app for its iPhones. However, since then, things keep going downhill.
What’s Going Wrong?
Unlike Signal App, Parler took the wrong turn. On Friday, Apple gave Parler 24 hours to clean up its app or face removal from its App Store. Why? Well, Millions of President Trump’s supporters have flocked to it as Facebook and Twitter increasingly cracked down on posts that spread misinformation and incited violence.
Parler appeared to take down some posts over that period, but on Saturday, Apple told the company its measures were inadequate.
“We support diverse points of view on the App Store. However, there is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” ~ Apple
First, Apple and Google removed the app from their app stores. They note that because it had not sufficiently policed its users’ posts. “They are allowing too many that encourage violence and crime.”
By late Saturday, Amazon told Parler it would boot the company from its web-hosting service on Sunday night. All because of repeated violations of Amazon’s rules.
As of now, the media site is completely offline as a result of Amazon terminating Parler’s web hosting services. The official Parler website now returns a 403 error, while its app is showing networking errors.
Is this the End of Free Speech?
Initially, there was a workaround. Android users could still install Parler on their devices by downloading it directly from Parler’s website. However, with its AWS services now down, the website and apps no longer work.
Parler CEO John Matze wrote in a post on Parler late Saturday that he believes Amazon, Google, and Apple “worked together to try and ensure they don’t have competition.” He also added that “They will NOT win! We are the worlds last hope for free speech and free information.”
Matze said in a separate post that the Parler could be offline for up to a week “as we rebuild from scratch.” Matze added, “You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don’t count us out.”
This may not necessarily be the end but there is definitely a war coming. Free speech constitutes misunderstanding when you use your views to attack another party.
Facebook, Twitter and even the likes of TikTok are doing their best to fight the discrepancies of free speech but will it be enough?