Imagine not being able to log into your Twitter account one day, not because you forgot the password, but because it has been deleted from the internet without a trace. That’s what happened to the free speech social media app, Parler. Gov. DeSantis on Jan. 14, at a legislative policy conference, spoke about his disapproval of the app being taken down entirely. Over the weekend, the app was first removed from the Apple and Google app stores and then soon after was wiped clean from the internet entirely by Amazon’s cloud provider.
What pushed Amazon’s providers to drop the app? Twitter started to remove the conservative accounts, accounts that include President Donald Trump’s, after users were inciting violence at the recent riot in the capitol building. After users were being removed, they went to the Parler app as an alternative to express themselves.
“What really bothered me was how they decapitated this company, Parler,” DeSantis said. “You always said ‘Hey, it’s a market, you don’t like Twitter, create your own competitor.’ Well, they did that.”
Although violence was in fact incited by Parler’s users, wiping the whole app off the market was extreme and if the app was a true threat, then the user’s accounts could have simply been deleted and or suspended for a certain amount of time, the same way Twitter and Facebook censors the content on their platform.
This type of action can lead to a slippery slope and we, potential users of social media apps like Parler, should feel threatened byBig Tech censorship. We should not be punished by these companies due to other’s decisions to post brow-raising content.
According to DeSantis, BigTech was suppressing “credible articles” that had to do with HunterBiden. “Big Tech, they could actually suppress this information, and that is just simply OK?” DeSantis asked. “That is election interference, if you want to be honest about it, and that’s something that really needs to be addressed.”
According to forbes.com, a survey found that a large numberof Big Tech employees supported the Parler ban, but also supported the ban of President Trump’sTwitter accounts.
“It’s important not to give extremist Trump supporters a platform to unite and plan more attacks on American democracy,” said an Apple employee. But why was President Trump’s account left online for so long, up until just a few weeks ago, before he left office?
Another question in mind is why delete the Parler app so soon, after just 92 posts that incite violence, when other apps such as Tumblr got away with allowing child pornography on their site for years up until the app was finally taken off the app store and then later put back on. Back in December of 2018, Tumblr finally decided to ban adult content in every form. Even after the ban of the content, Tumblr was still criticized for multiple reasons, one of them being people feeling that they lost something outside of the negative posts.
Twitter user @lonelyholdme posted this tweet back in 2020:“even though I get why so many people abandoned Tumblr after the porn ban, it’s still a way better platform for art, writing, and fandom in general that twitter is ever gonna be. this app does not foster creativity at all. all Twitter is good for is the occasional image or video.”
CEO of the Parler app, John Matze, said the app could be back by the end of January. Parler also posted a statement on the home page of their website, “We believe privacy is paramount and free speech essential, especially on social media. Our aim has always been to provide a nonpartisan public square where individuals can enjoy and exercise their rights to both,” the Parler message stated. “We will resolve any challenge before us and plan to welcome all of you back soon. We will not let civil discourse perish!”