The January 6 riot on Capitol Hill was a horrible and disgraceful event. There was no excuse or justification for people who broke laws, stole things, did damage, and made threats on the capilol.
In the aftermath, the media was quick to paint with broad brushstrokes. Every conservative was partially to blame. Donald Trump was to be held responsible (to the point of having a Senate impeachment hearing after he was no longer president). And then there was Parler.
Parler, which was founded in 2018, shot to popularity last summer as a conservative alternative to Twitter. Parler was also held accountable for its role in being the preferred communication tool for insurrection and rioting. January 6 was a Wednesday. By the end of that weekend, Parler had been shut down by the rest of the big tech oligarchy. Apple and Google removed the app from their stores. Amazon who hosted Parler discontinued their service.
When Parler was de-platformed, I had talked about the many failings of other social media companies. All of the tech platforms have been used in the past by terrorists. But they all get to keep their platform. But it was Parler who was uniquely dangerous and problematic. I read a report today that I found very interesting.
On February 7, Forbes did an analysis of police reports in connection to 223 protesters who had been arrested. For most of the people arrested, their social media was cited. Facebook was referenced in connection to 73 of the arrested protesters. YouTube for 24, Instagram (who’s owned by Facebook) for 20 of the arrested protesters.
How many for Parler? 223? No.
73? As many as Facebook? No.
Quoting from Forbes:
The references are a mix of public posts and private messages sent on each platform, discussing plans to go to the Stop the Steal march, some containing threats of violence, as well as images, videos and livestreams from the breach of the Capitol building.
Parler which was constructively used by millions of people and was a free speech alternative to increasingly liberalized platforms like Facebook and Twitter had to be taken offline because eight people who were part of the riot were arrested.
Why isn’t Facebook being taken down? Of course that will never happen. Nor do I think that should happen. But neither should Parler have lost its platform.
Quoting from Rachel Bovard in The Federalist:
Was Parler involved? Yes. Was the platform the virtual Bat Cave of Incitement and Violence that Apple, Google, Amazon, and thoroughly un-critical press reporting made it out to be? Hardly. If any single platform can be fingered as the favorite of the rioters, it appears to be Facebook.
Here’s the reality: Parler was not taken down because it was used by some of the criminal rioters. It was taken down because it’s a Conservative outlet and the mainstream culture hates that. The Capitol Hill riot was an easy excuse.
And if it wasn’t, then where are the social media companies in apologizing? Where is the mainstream media in reporting this? Where are people who called for Parler to be de-platformed correcting themselves and saying that they made a mistake or jumped to conclusions?
Also, it gave an excuse for big tech to conspire against a popular competitor under the guise of legitimacy.
For the record, I don’t blame Facebook, or YouTube, or Instagram. I’m sure it’s hard to keep up with illegal activities on these platforms. I just thing that consistency is needed. Parler received unfair blame and was crippled by big tech for it. That was wrong.
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