On June 24th, Devin Nunes’ defamation case against Twitter, for the insults he received on that site at the hands of “Devin Nunes’ Mom” and “Devin Nunes’ Cow,” was dismissed. Devin Nunes sought to hold Twitter to account as the “content provider” in this case, despite the fact that existing laws dictate that an online social platform is not a content provider where members post data, unless they are party to that information’s creation. The court also found that the allegation that conservatives (here on out, note “conservatives” are not actually conservatives, but what’s left of the GOP that uses the label) or any other class of people were treated differently by Twitter was without basis.
Having lost his case, Nunes began anew a campaign to encourage his followers to leave twitter and join the competing site Parler. Not only did Nunes undertake this encouragement of conservatives to exit the platform, so did many GOP politicians and talking heads starting on June 25th.
Now, I cannot say this concerted effort was a planned event. I cannot say it was anything more than sheer coincidence, or a cattle line, “Me too!” follow. I can say the Trump Campaign weighed in on the same day, the 24th, about moving to alternate social platforms; specifically Parler. So there’s that.
It is clear, the leaders of the GOP insanity are desperate to maintain their sway over the cult at any cost. The news is getting worse, the facts more difficult to avoid, and the eventuality on the horizon has become impossible to avert. Donald Trump will lose the election…by a lot. Therefore, it has become very important to maintain control of the message, and Parler promises less oversight or fiddling in “conservative” affairs. The GOP Hippocratic oath has come into play: “Do harm to protect your personal interests.” It’s every man for himself. The whole “don’t wear masks, it’s a liberal ploy,” just isn’t panning out on Twitter.
To Parler we go!!!
Nevermind the absurdly competing notions of seeking to hold a social platform to account for content, and simultaneously tout the virtues of a social platform that promises to not censor content. Wait, we’re supposed to lament the lack of accountability and also champion the lack of accountability? Yes.
I can tell you with certainty, as is, there will never be a noteworthy presence of liberals on Parler. For the most part, it is exactly what groups other than conservatives, trolls, and conspiracy theorists DO NOT want in a social platform.
On paper, Parler is not all that different from Twitter. Conceptually, it’s the same thing. You have to lift up the hood to see the differences, aside from the cosmetic. The real-life experience on Parler is, you can get away with a lot more inflammatory language then you could on Twitter (
F-bombs, smack-talking, trolling, and utter nonsense ’til the cows come home) Update-I got banned. Parler is not about free speech, as noted here.
I could go over each individual difference in the User agreement and TOS, because it is true, there are differences to be found. This is not an exact and entirely complete list.
What is prohibited:
First, let me say, there is no legal power or immunity an online platform can grant you in the face of the law. There is no legal protection in what is allowed and what isn’t on a social platform. Therefore, that Parler decided, for whatever reason, to state several types of felonies that would not be acceptable, does not imply that other felonies are A OK. It simply doesn’t matter what their stance is. Similarly, and the GOP seem to have a great deal of trouble understanding this, we *do not* have all of our constitutional rights on a social platform. We don’t. We do not have a right to free speech, we do not have a right to assemble as we see fit. We have very little in the way of “rights”. What we do have is an agreement, that we are agreeing to when we log on, whether we have read the agreements or not.
|Threaten violence against groups or individuals||x||x|
|May not promote terrorism||x||only of US identified groups|
|Targeted harassment or incite others to it||x|
|Promote hate speech||x||x|
|Suicide or self-harm||x|
|Sensitive media (porn violence)||x||x|
|Non consensual nudity||x|
|Platform manipulation (bots)||x|
|Interfere manipulate civic processes (voting)||x|
|Synthetic manipulated media||x|
|Hateful imagery (swastika)||x||only of US identified groups|
|Slurs, epitaphs, racist or sexist tropes||x|
|User name squatting||x|
|User consents to royalty free use by service||x||x|
|Access to A Pi’s via application process||x|
|Libel defamation||not specifically mentioned||x|
|Blackmail extortion bribery criminal solicitation||not specifically mentioned||x|
|Child sexual exploitation||not specifically mentioned||x|
|May be terminated for any reason or no reason||not mentioned||x|
|Forced no class action?||x|
|Forced indemnification, you pay services expenses?||Developers only||x|
|Share information about you to third parties||x||x|
Furthermore, even in Twitter’s extremely thorough agreements, they state that even if they change the agreements, they will not enforce changes retroactively. Guess what, they could change the agreement to say they are now allowing new rules to be enforced retroactively. Twitter or Parler could unceremoniously kick your ass out for any reason or no reason at all. Even though only Parler’s agreement says they can do that, the fact that it isn’t delineated in Twitter’s agreement, doesn’t alter the fact they can do it.
Most of the similarities or differences in Twitter and Parler’s agreements don’t really matter. There are a few…that really, really do matter quite a bit.
Parler’s CEO John Maetz answer to censorship is: “I don’t see why you need to censor the president’s tweets,” he said. “If you don’t like what he has to say, vote him out of office.”
*Bots. Not allowed on twitter (of course they exist). Not disallowed on Parler. Which, in this case, with their 30 man workforce, implies no effort will be made to locate them. The opposite is true. On Parler, you are encouraged to use a govt. issued ID to prove you *are not* a bot.
*Interference in civic processes. This means anything to interfere: such as mislabeling or purposeful misinformation. (wrong place to vote, wrong time to vote, incorrect requirements, incorrect candidate information, etc.) Strictly not allowed on Twitter. No mention on Parler.
*Synthetic or manipulated data. Strictly not allowed on Twitter. No mention on Parler.
Take these 3 items as a whole, and there’s potential to do a lot of harm. Post manipulated data concerning candidates, elections, or any civic process (fake, altered vids or soundtracks, faked documentation), get some groovy hashtags to identify it, employ an army of bots to amplify it, and ka-boom. Mass confusion and misinformation.
To conservatives this would be representative of the “Marketplace of ideas,” to be voted on for truthiness in the town square. An expression of our First Amendment rights. It may not be real or true, but it’s right.
Recently there was an interesting story on “Last Week Tonight,” highlighting Kpop’s efforts to not only undermine the Trump Campaign’s reservation system, but to also drown out the #whitelivesmatter hashtag to the point where it was unintelligible and meaningless. It’s neat. But, if the answer to contrary ideas or downright misinformation, like that which is allowed on Parler, is to drown the internet into meaninglessness, I have to wonder if we are reaching the event horizon of the Internet’s “Golden Age.” I’m exaggerating a little, but not much.
*Forced Arbitration. Not on Twitter. Yes on Parler.
*No Class-action lawsuits. Not on Twitter. Yes on Parler.
*Forced indemnification. Not on Twitter. Yes on Parler.
These three together pretty much means, Parler is not going to be responsible for anything. If you manage to file a successful claim against them, your only recourse is forced arbitration. Not only that, you are going to pay for their legal expenses if anyone drags them into court regarding content you upload. You may not form a class against them. Their interests are your sole interest.
In this light, moving to Parler in response to Twitter’s “lack of accountability,” is laughable.
I do think we need some really carefully crafted laws in place to protect both online social platforms, content providers, and services. This is becoming unavoidable.
It is also evident that what remains of the GOP cannot get out of their own way. They want to live in a fact free social world of strong feelings. They want lies and misinformation to be worth the same as truth and facts to the point where everything becomes meaningless. They want social media companies to be policemen of constitutional rights that do not exist. It doesn’t make any sense.
Parler’s community is so lopsided, their CEO. is offering any high profile liberal $20,000 to make a home there. Go ahead take the money and run because Parler, as it stands, will never be anything other than an echo chamber for the delusional, profoundly misguided, and the dregs of society. This does not mean that Twitter is perfect, they are not, but in the current undefined environment, they are doing acceptably well enough.
As a side note, I’ve had 3 accounts perma-banned on Twitter. I know why- I broke the rules. That’s life and I ain’t crying about it.
PS: checked in on Parler after posting this. This appears to be an actual “tweet” in Parler from the CEO:
I’m not entirely sure what he is threatening here, but there are so many things wrong with this. The arbitrary nature of this post, its seeming threat of action from a company officer in public space, and its apparent buy-in to Donny’s fever dream regarding a terrorist designation, indicates a really creepy future for Parler. To me, there is no facade now.