"I'm Done": Right-Wing Personalities Ditching Twitter for Parler Over Claims of Censorship

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Billed as a free-speech alternative to Big Tech, a number of big names in conservative media have touted the social network, including Donald Trump Jr., Candace Owens, Dan Bongino, Rudy Giuliani and InfoWars' Alex Jones.

Fed up by what they perceive as political bias and increasing censorship from Big Tech, a growing number of right-wing media personalities, pundits and politicians have begun to switch over to Parler, a Twitter alternative that markets itself as a champion of free speech. 

Although launched in 2018, the migration to Parler, dubbed "Twexit" by some, has been given extra impetus in the last few weeks, driven largely by Twitter's ongoing and very high profile spat with President Donald Trump over incendiary tweets as well as the company's decision to hand permanent bans to popular pro-Trump accounts like self-described conservative "memesmith" Carpe Donktum and British white nationalist Katie Hopkins.  

"10 years on Twitter. I'm done. Disgusted with the censorship on this platform," Turning Point USA's Benny Johnson tweeted on his personal Twitter account on Wednesday. "Twitter is now so aggressively ANTI Free Speech, it's not fun anymore. Just got on @parler_app. It's refreshing, not like this communist gulag dumpster fire," he added. However, Johnson didn't stop or limit his posting to Twitter after he announced he was "done."

The big names that have set up Parler accounts recently include Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, White House deputy chief of staff for communications Dan Scarvino, Rep. Devin Nunes, Sen. Rand Paul, Malaysia-based gamer Ian Miles Cheong, The Federalist's Mollie Hemingway and Sean Davis, Fox News contributors Dan Bongino and Mark Levin, and Candace Owens. Many of these personalities continue to use Twitter but have touted Parler to their followers and some have reposted their Parler content on Twitter too.

 

Some conservative commentators have questioned whether Parler can compete with Twitter due to the latter's size and audience reach. Parler reportedly has over 1 million users which is dwarfed by Twitter's 330 million users. But more pointedly, someone like Trump Jr., who has 5.2 million Twitter followers, has a fraction of that on Parler with prospects for only limited growth in the future. "Still have my doubts that anyone can compete with Twitter but it would be nice to be wrong," tweeted Human Events editor-in-chief Will Chamberlain after announcing he had joined Parler. 

Parler, which takes its name from the French verb "to speak," bills itself as a champion of free speech and has little to no regulation of the content posted on its platform. On its website, the company says it 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." The company says it does not share users' personal data.

Media reports suggest the company has become popular with people banned from Twitter and Facebook such as Hopkins, Carpe Donktum, Milo Yiannopoulos and InfoWars' Alex Jones as well as neo-Nazi and alt-right groups and QAnon conspiracy theorists.