Donald Trump supporters flee to alternative social media after misinformation crackdowns

Right-wing social network Parler has surged in popularity in the US after high-profile conservative figures urged their followers to migrate to the new platform over fears of censorship on Twitter and Facebook.

The platform, which was launched in 2018 and encourages its users to “express yourself openly, without fear of being ‘deplatformed’ for your views, was downloaded close to 1m times last week, according to data from app tracking firm SensorTower.

Maria Bartiromo, a Fox News presenter, and Mark Levin, a lawyer and radio personality, are among the conservative commentators with large social media followings to encourage their fans to join Parler, claiming that Facebook and Twitter have censored their posts relating to the US election.

Donald Trump and some of his prominent supporters have been attempting to make claims of fraud in the contest, but have yet to provide any evidence, leading to crackdowns.

Both major platforms announced new rules around the type of content that would be allowed to remain online in relation to the voting misinformation and conspiracy theories, which caused Mr Trump’s own tweets that had violated its policies around sharing misinformation.

Facebook removed ‘Stop the Steal’, a group formed to organise rallies and fundraising to challenge the results of the election that attracted more than 300,000 members, on 5 November, attracting further accusations of censorship.

“In line with the exceptional measures that we are taking during this period of heightened tension, we have removed the Group ‘Stop the Steal’ which was creating real-world events,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.

“The group was organised around the delegitimisation of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from members of the group.”

Flocking to Parler

Parler topped the free app rankings on both Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS app stores following the influx of new members.

A post from independent news channel NTD making a claim of statistical anomalies in recent vote counts has attracted thousands of comments, with many users claiming Facebook and Twitter had suppressed the same post.

Twitter confirmed it would label or remove “false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in an election or other civic process” back in September, while Facebook said if the candidate declared to be the winner by major media outlets is questioned by another candidate or party, Facebook and Instagram will display the name of the declared winner with notifications at the top of users’ feeds, label posts from the candidates and link to its Voting Information Centre.

Mr Trump’s Twitter account will lose its special protected status as belonging to a “newsworthy individual” when he is forced to step down as president, the company confirmed last week. He could being locked out of his account temporarily or permanently if his posts after that point contravene content rules.

*story by INEWS.CO.UK