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Where now
for the
trump mob?

Illustrations by Michelle Thompson

Banished from Twitter and Facebook, the more extreme end of the Donald’s believers found an accommodating home in Parler: until it got shut down. But that doesn’t mean they’re out of options. Far from it, says Jack Kessler

'You cannot threaten to kill anyone in the comment section. Sorry,’ explained Parler’s since-terminated chief executive, John Matze, in a post. I mention this upfront to dispel the myth that there were no rules on Parler, the conservative ‘free speech’ internet platform and right-wing alternative to Twitter.

There was, however, no directive specifically stating its users should not use the site to organise a violent insurrection on the United States Capitol. In retrospect, this feels like an oversight. Parler, founded by Nevada-based Matze and Jared Thomson, and financed by the conservative billionaire Mercer family, launched in 2018.

It has now emerged that Donald Trump’s team was in negotiations to make Parler the former president’s primary social network in return for equity, which perhaps shouldn’t come as a surprise: it rapidly gained in popularity last year after Twitter and Facebook began slapping warning labels on some of the then-president’s tweets about election security alongside other disinformation.

“White supremacist groups love platforms like Telegram because they are the perfect tool for hate”

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“With little or no content moderation, plus end-to-end encryption, militia groups are waiting, out of sight, to radicalise many others”

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“[the algorithm] can quickly take you from ‘social justice warriors are irritating’ to ‘the Government is illegitimate and must be overthrown’”

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“I’m all about ‘trust the plan’ because we literally have nothing else”

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