What Is Shadow Banning?
July 2020 | by Corinne Clark
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Parler has been billed as “The New Public Square,” “The Free Speech Network,” and most famously, “Conservative Twitter.” But what is under the hood of this emerging social media platform? What is Parler all about?
According to their website:
“Parler is an unbiased social media focused on real user experiences and engagement. Our content is moderated based off the FCC and the Supreme Court of the United States, which enables free expression without violence and a lack of censorship. Parler never shares your personal data.”
Parler is a social media platform specifically for microblogging founded by CEO John Matze. It officially launched in August 2018. After spending even just a couple of minutes on the platform, it’s clear that Matze intends for the platform to be a competitor to Twitter.
Matze himself isn’t shy about that either. In an interview with Fox News, Matze said: “It’ll feel very similar to Twitter, which I’m sure many people are accustomed to. However … we take a really firm stance that we want to be unbiased.”
So what are the main differences between Twitter and Parler? We’re glad you asked.
We’ve encountered politicians like former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, media personalities like Megyn Kelly, and known conservative celebrities like Scott Baio and Dean Cain on Parler so far.
Few political campaigns have migrated to the platform. The only major verified organizations are the NRSC, Team Trump, and RSLC. A few news publications have officially joined the platform as well – the Washington Times Opinion Page and the Washington Examiner Opinion Page.
Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of Parler isn’t who is on the platform, but who isn’t. For the most part, corporations and brands seem to be missing entirely.
Below we’ve listed a handful of prominent and ”influencer verified” accounts that you can follow on Parler.*
*Note: This isn’t an exhaustive list of prominent people on Parler, just a handful who are influencer verified.
Fmr U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley
Whitehouse Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino
Fmr Mayor of NYC Rudy Giuliani
Congressman Andy Biggs
Congressman Devin Nunes
Congresswoman Elise Stefanik
Congressman Jim Jordan
Congressman Jodey Arrington
Congressman Lee Zeldin
Congressman Louie Gohmert
Congressman Matt Gaetz
Congressman Paul Gosar
Congressman Thomas Massie
Congressman Tom Rice
Congressman Warren Davidson
Senator Chuck Grassley
Senator Mike Lee
Senator Rand Paul
Senator Ted Cruz
President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro
Media Personalities and Celebrities
Like any platform, it depends on your goals and your target audience.
Following the banning of prominent conservative personalities on Twitter this past June, Parler gained over 500,000 new users in just over a week. After this #Twexit, Parler jumped from 1 million users to 1.5 million.
I’m proud to join @parler_app — a platform gets what free speech is all about — and I’m excited to be a part of it. Let’s speak. Let’s speak freely. And let’s end the Silicon Valley censorship. Follow me there @tedcruz! pic.twitter.com/pzUFvhipBZ
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 25, 2020
Being an early adopter of the platform could be beneficial to content creators who want their work to stand out. Think “big fish in a currently small pond.”
Twitter and Facebook are incorporating stricter censorship standards. Practices like shadow banning, arbitrary fact-checking, and content warnings mean there is a chance your followers aren’t always seeing your content. Parler offers an alternative option to reach your audience in the event of a suspension or permanent ban from Twitter or Facebook.
If you’re running a right-leaning political campaign that wants to reach a sympathetic audience, then Parler might be a good fit for you. Many Parler users are self-selected, highly engaged conservatives who will almost certainly promote your content, subscribe to your campaign, or support your election.
That’s not to say Parler is without its issues. The platform is still in its infancy, with a less polished user interface than Twitter and the occasional bug. They are still working through issues like influencer impersonation and struggling to get more ideologically diverse subscribers on the platform. And there has been harsh criticism for their user agreement.
With the social media environment slowly moving towards stricter rules on other platforms, Parler has started to carve out a place not just for “Conservative Twitter” but for anyone wanting to be part of the new digital town square. For digital marketers, it might be on more tool to add to their toolbox.
To balance your digital efforts, we recommend an omni-channel strategy that reaches your audience across all platforms. Learn more about how IMGE does omni-channel marketing here.
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