14 Mar 2021

Parler Is Back Online

Parler, an alternative social network has reopened after a month of being down. It was created with free speech and privacy in mind, and relaunched to be open to Americans of all viewpoints, built using alternative, open-source and "independent technology" and also with a new CEO on the board! Parler does not longer rely on any big technology, and at the time of writing this article, it has already 20 million users! Here we will showcase everything about the reborn Parler, its story, design and why it was taken down in the first place. 

Things covered in this article:

What is Parler?

Parler is an alternative social media with free speech in mind. It was launched for the first time back in September 2018. It gained more popularity after Donald Trump was banned from Twitter. Its user base consists mainly of Trump supporters, conservatives and conspiracy theorists. It was supposed to be a place where everyone could post anything they want and not get banned or muted. It didn't go well, as Parler was reported for encouraging violence, spreading disinformation around its users, and muting far-left people or politics who wanted to become part of the Parler's community.  Parler was recommended as an alternative to Twitter or Facebook, which guarantees full freedom of speech. The only removed content is pornography, violence threats or supporting terrorism. During the presidential election in the USA, the number of its users has quadrupled!

Parler very much resembles other applications such as Twitter, Facebook or Reddit. It seems that these applications share very similar features, Parler just calls them very differently. During the turmoil of the presidential election in the USA, Trump's daughter - Ivanka Trump decided to call out to people to join Parler.

In opposition to Facebook or Twitter, Parler does not have an algorithm that decides what to show to users, posts (parleys) are displayed in chronological order. It also implements an idea of badges, these badges are given to different users of Parler, we've listed a few of them below with short descriptions:

Another Parler-specific thing is that you can dislike parleys. This simply doesn't exist on other platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!

Why was Parler taken down?

Parler's activity was peaking during the US presidential election, it was at the moment when the infamous storm on the capitol happened. Parler's mobile application was removed from Google Store and Apple Store by Google and Apple, the same day Parler's website was taken down from AWS (Amazon Web Services) for violation of Amazon's rules. Parler was removed because it had allowed too many users to encourage others' to violence and committing crimes by not policing users' posts enough. Parler's creators were doing their best to keep the website online but to no effect. Parler was down for more than a month, and now we can witness its return.

Accusations against Parler:

According to the official sources, the reasons behind the removal of Parler from the internet are:

Parler is now trying to sue Amazon for an illegal, politically motivated decision to take down Parler. In response, Amazon has provided almost 100 examples of Parler posts that Encourage or/and incite violence. Amazon says that they can't provide any services to their customers, which does not remove content that encourages violence against others.

Rebirth of Parler

After a month of being down, we can see the return of Parler. 

All of the users' accounts were kept, but no posts (parleys) were transferred to the newest version of Parler. This decision was made mostly because of the new policy of Parler. It seemed as everything was going well, but then - Google Play and Apple Store refused to put Parler back on their stores. And it doesn't seem like their decision is going to change anytime soon. We don't have any information about the new mobile Parler app, and we don't think it will be available soon. In the first week of the relaunch, Parler will be available only for people with already existing accounts. Signing up will become an available feature in the following weeks. Parler is now built on top of independent technologies, and its creators say that they are here to stay.

Parler didn't introduce any new features, everything is as it was before. The application was improved, it looks better and works faster.

New Logo

With the return of Parler, we can also see that the logo was changed completely, now it does not remind us of the previous logo at all. We can see the transition in the image below.

As you can see, the change is pretty easy to spot, we no longer have a logo that represents the first letter of Parler, But a rather more abstract symbol with no clear meaning. And as we will see later, the website itself looks different from what it used to be.

New Design

Parler's new interface seems more minimalistic than the previous one, it's way more clear and intuitive. Below you can see the difference between these two designs:

First of all, we can see that the top bar has been moved from the top to the left side of the screen, icons themself were not changed by much. This interface is way cleaner than the previous one, allowing Parler's users to quickly navigate through the web application. As we can see on the right side, there is a hashtag feed, which shows popular topics, and at the bottom, there is a list of people to follow. Parler's look was greatly improved!

With the story of Parler in mind, we have to ask ourselves one important question - Is Freedom Of Speech on the internet real? What are the limits of free speech, and how will the situation look like in the upcoming years? This is indeed a very sensitive topic and the answer is not as clear as we would like it to be. Other controversial applications are appearing on the horizon, such as Gab. This shows that people want to express themselves on the internet without getting banned or muted for their opinion and beliefs.

By Maciej Oliwa on 14 Mar 2021

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