What is Parler? The right-wing social media app used by Ivanka Trump, Katie Hopkins and Gina Carano explained - and why it’s controversial

The Parler app counts Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Jim Jordan among its users

Ivanka Trump has joined conservative social media app Parler (Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump has joined conservative social media app Parler (Getty Images)

“Follow me on Parler!”

Ivanka Trump sparked a spike in interest for the social media platform when she revealed, via Twitter, that she was joining the app.

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Trump is the latest right-leaning figure to migrate to the platform which has seen a surge in popularity since her father’s defeat in the 2020 US Election, with many criticising Twitter for labelling the outgoing president’s tweets as inaccurate.

Here’s everything you need to know about the conservative social media app.

What is Parler?

Similar to Twitter, Parler allows users to post messages, or images. Fellow users are able to approve the post - similar to Twitter’s like function - or “echo” the message - similar to Twitter’s retweet function.

The app’s unique selling point is it’s “dedication to free speech” with users able to post anything they desire so long as it’s not unlawful, and not spam. This dedication has been questioned by many, with several leftist and liberal figures already removed from the platform despite sticking to the rules.

The platform was formed in 2018 by John Matze and Jared Thomson, a pair of Conservative programmers, with Rebekah Mercer among the app’s top investors. Mercer has previously provided financial backing to Cambridge Analytica, Breitbart News and the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign.

Why is the app growing in popularity?

As of July 2020, the app has over 2.5m downloads, though Matze recently claimed that the app had gained an additional 2m followers.

The app has grown exponentially in popularity since Twitter and Facebook made efforts to crack down on the distribution of misinformation.

Right-wing users of the silicon valley giants’ platforms alleged that conservative content was being disproportionately affected by the new rules.

The app saw a surge in popularity when President Donald Trump’s Twitter posts were labelled as misinformation, with many migrating over to Parler in protest.

Who uses Parler?

With the platform’s usership predominantly conservative, the app has been adopted by a number of rightwing politicians, including Ted Cruz, Jim Jordan, Elise Stefanik, Rand Paul and Nikki Haley.

With Ivanka Trump adopting the app, and Twitter cracking down on inaccurate posts by Donald Trump the app could soon count the outgoing president as one of its users.