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Parler Games

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Editorial | November 14th, 2020

In a news cycle where it’s tough to discern fact from fiction, you may have noticed that a number of conservative media consumers are announcing their dramatic exit from Facebook and Twitter. After Twitter labeled a number of Trump’s tweets “misleading,” the “new” social media app of choice for conservatives is an app called Parler.

According to Business Insider, “Parler shot to number one on Apple's App Store on Sunday, the day after major media outlets projected Joe Biden would win the 2020 presidential race. Parler had been downloaded nearly 1 million times within five days of Election Day, November 3.”

Parler credits itself as a “free speech platform” and takes pride in the fact that there are no fact-checkers, adding a “no grown-ups allowed” element to the playground mentality of social media. What could possibly go wrong? For some odd reason, 2020 has given me the urge to reread “Lord of the Flies.”

I don’t know about you, but who would have thought social media would lose its appeal once facts ruin a guy’s right to free (hate) speech. I mean, I thought this was America?

Maybe these righties are onto something… One could even say that perhaps the snowflakes turned into a blizzard with the announcement of Biden’s presidential victory this past week. But I don’t think they’ll really like Parler with minimal libs to “own.” Then again I suppose everyone needs a good safe space. At least there they can stand all day and all night for the National Anthem and no one’s Trump flag will be at half mast.

There are a few ways we can view Parler. Sure, it’s a platform for like-minded individuals to share ideas, hold discussions, make friends, and fight with complete strangers. You know, the whole reason social media appealed to everyone in the first place. In the absence of fact-checkers, will it spin itself into an unregulated, unapologetic propaganda machine? Will it collect its users’ data and use test ads for political gain, plant misinformation, spread conspiracy theories, and use consumers as guinea pigs? You know the same reason social media started to lose its appeal...

Right-wingers already banned from more popular networking sites, such as Milo Yiannopolous and Gavin McInnes -- both banned from Twitter -- are setting up shop on Parler too.

On a local level, think of it as a new bar opening up on Broadway and all the undesirables that have been weeded out of every other establishment Downtown are coming in to raise Cain and prove exactly why they’re not welcome anyplace else. We can all agree that yes, rules are bunk, but some rules exist for good reason.

I mean, we might not always agree politically with our friends, neighbors, and family members, but we don’t want to see an Alex Jonestown Massacre. For the sake of Thanksgiving, stay away from the orange Kool-Aid!

In all seriousness, there are some serious red flags that should be noted about Meinspace -- er, um, Parler. Along with far-right groups, Parler is also very popular with…Saudi nationalists? Yes, the same nationalists who support Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s leader, who had a role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, have flocked to the networking site in droves, after they felt their right to free speech was being compromised. And we thought Tik Tok was something to worry about.

Just a few days ago an Arkansas police chief resigned after making a post on Parler wishing death to all “Marxist Democrats,” and to "Take no prisoners, leave no survivors!!"

Maybe the remedy to all of this is to just get off social media period. Maybe we need to re-educate ourselves on civics and civil discourse. Let’s make letter writing great again. Democrats just saw how effective sending their voice via mail was…Sorry, too soon?

Jokes aside, just remember to be good to each other. Be nice to your neighbors. Winter is coming and you never know when you need to be pulled out of a ditch.

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