What is Parler? Conservative Twitter or Something More?

Published: July 2020. Updated: March 2024.

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Originally published February 2021. Last updated March 2024.


What is Parler?

Once seen as the “Conservative Twitter,” Parler has undergone many changes since its initial launch in 2018. The social media scene is crowded. With giants like Elon Musk’s X and newcomers like Meta’s Threads, competition is fierce, and Parler’s story is a perfect example.

After shutdowns and controversies, it’s gearing up for a fresh start. Parler is making a comeback. Acquired by Texas-based PDS Partners, it’s set for a 2024 relaunch with Parler 3.0. But what is under the hood of this new version of a once-emerging social media platform?

According to their website:

“Parler 3.0 is revolutionizing social media, breaking free from the constraints of conventional platforms. We’re not just another app – we’re leading a movement towards a new era of global connection. With a focus on values and cutting-edge technology, we’re reshaping social landscapes and prioritizing user security and control.”

Parler is a social media platform specifically for microblogging. It was founded by former CEO John Matze and officially launched in August 2018. After spending even just a couple of minutes on the platform, it’s abundantly clear that Matze intended Parler to be a serious competitor to Elon Musk’s X.

But as Parler prepares for its relaunch, what lies ahead? What role will it play in the evolving social media landscape? We’re glad you asked.

What’s Going On with Parler?

In the aftermath of the 2020 Presidential election and due to Facebook and Twitter’s implementation of draconian content restrictions and warnings, Parler usage surged. Parler saw an influx of nearly 4 million new users, including many prominent conservative personalities and organizations. The app skyrocketed to the #1 spot in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.

In early January 2021, after the removal of Donald Trump from Twitter, Parler experienced another massive surge of new users. The influx of new users was severely halted after the Google Play Store and Apple App Store discontinued distribution of the Parler App citing concerns with the platform’s inadequate moderation policies. The situation culminated on January 10th, 2021 when Amazon Web Services (AWS) shut the platform down and ceased all services with Parler.

After being shut down for over a month, Parler came back online on Monday, February 15th, 2021, but did not return to the Apple App Store until April 2021; an event precipitated by the firing of Parler’s former CEO John Matze and an overhaul of their moderation services that detect hate speech and incitement. These changes to the platform went under review by Apple and were approved on April 14th, 2021. This gave Parler the green light to relaunch their social media app in the App Store as long as the Apple version blocked certain posts that are available in other versions of the app, such as the web browser version.

The app did not return to the Google Play Store until September 2022 after making changes to their content moderation tools, like actively removing things like violent speech and giving users the ability to block and report other users.

In an unexpected twist, Kanye West expressed interest in purchasing Parler in October 2022, following his suspension from Twitter due to antisemitic remarks. This move was seen as aligning with West’s search for a platform that supports free speech. However, the acquisition deal quickly fell through, and Parler remained under its existing ownership – but not for long…

Following the collapsed acquisition deal with Kanye West, Parler underwent another significant change in its ownership structure. In April 2023, the platform was acquired by the digital media conglomerate Starboard. This acquisition marked a new chapter for Parler, with Starboard briefly shutting down the platform for a “strategic assessment.” This move aimed to reevaluate and potentially recalibrate Parler’s direction before making a comeback.

However, the app would never come back online under Starboard’s ownership. Parler was sold once again in December 2023. The new owners, a group led by Texas-based PDS Partners, announced their intention to relaunch Parler in 2024. And that, finally, brings us to current times.

As we await Parler’s anticipated comeback under its new ownership, the platform finds itself at a crossroads, hoping to carve out its niche in the rapidly changing social media landscape. Will they be able to do it? What will their niche be? Let’s get into it…

Can Parler Find Its Place in the Evolving Social Landscape?

Since Parler left the Internet in April 2023, the social media landscape has changed a lot. Twitter is now known as X, Meta’s Threads was launched and continues to grow, and other conservative apps like Truth Social and Rumble provide intense competition for users.

The key to surviving in this crowded field is finding your niche. For Parler, that has always been free speech. However, Elon Musk continues to push X as the platform to go to for free speech.

With Elon Musk promoting X as the ultimate haven for free speech, Parler’s challenge is to redefine its niche, ensuring it offers something distinctively compelling.

Taking a look at Parler’s website, it’s evident that the company is redefining their niche. The words “free speech” appear nowhere on the site; instead, the company seems to be focused on technological innovation particularly as it applies to user security and control.

Right now, we can only guess, but it seems like Parler no longer wants to be the platform focused on free speech. It seems they want to be the platform based on user customization. They want to be on the leading edge of technology in order to provide their users with a “groundbreaking experience.”

Does this reimagined vision of Parler, focused on innovation, user customization, and security, sound like a platform you’d want to use?

Is “Parler 3.0” Going to Be the Right Fit for You?

We’ll have to wait to see Parler 3.0 to talk about its potential, but there’s a few things we do know…

When it comes to any social media platform, it will always depend on your goals/preferences. Not every social media platform is the right fit for every person. However, as security concerns over social media rise due to apps like TikTok stirring up controversy, an app focused around “user security and control” like Parler may become a popular choice.

Don’t let changing rules on social media platforms tank your next campaign. To balance your digital efforts, we recommend an omni-channel strategy that reaches your audience across all platforms.

Learn more about how IMGE does omnichannel marketing here.

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