Parler is having a moment, after its users cheered on the storming of the Capitol after the Trump-led “Save America Rally” on January 6. The largely unmoderated and right-wing social network was also involved in the planning of the insurrection, leading some to worry that Parler is a new hotbed of misinformation and extremist activity. At the very least, the site has become more than just an alternative to Twitter.
Attention is turning toward Parler and other fringe platforms in the aftermath of the events on Capitol Hill at a time when social networks are under increasing scrutiny for the role they play in encouraging off-platform violence. Some are urging companies like Facebook and Twitter to moderate content more aggressively. Others claim that stricter moderation amounts to censorship and pushes users to darker corners of the internet. This process could inevitably bolster the spread of misinformation, hate speech, and violence.
“These are unmoderated kind of closed spaces where only people with fringe and extremist ideologies spend their time,” Jonathon Morgan, the CEO of Yonder, an AI firm that tracks misinformation, said of platforms like Parler and 4chan, a message board known for hate speech. “That
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