Parler, the social media platform where Ted Cruz is free to dance naked under the cursed moon in the realm of the possessed, may not be the right-wing free speech utopia of the future. Despite offering a perfectly fine refuge for conservatives bitching about Facebook and Twitter and YouTube’s moderation policies, downloads of the app have tanked.
At peak election conspiracy frenzy, Parler soared to the top of App Store for four straight days. It’s since dropped to 339th place, according to the analytics platform Appfigures. In the two weeks following election day, Parler received 2.6 million downloads; that number was over halved to 912,000 downloads in the two weeks after that, and now hang at 123,000 in the last week and a half. In other words, it appears to be a blip.
Historically, Parler gets a bump in downloads whenever conservatives feel a new rush of paranoia over perceived censorship. In late June, Parler reached the top of the App Store in News and, briefly, 19th overall. This was soon after Twitter added a “manipulated media” label to a fake CNN video Trump tweeted, and #Twexit went viral. Then again, the dropoff in downloads might just be the result of current users realizing Parlers is buggy as hell and sucks at moderation.
Downloads be damned, Parler has managed to attract the usual suspects of modern arch-conservatism: former KKK grand wizard David Duke, Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, Fox News goblin Sean Hannity, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, Congressperson Devin Nunes (R-CA), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirstie Alley (R-Trolltown). Parler is a place where Ted Cruz can reveal his internet quiz results, Sean Hannity can freak out about the apocalypse, someone else can harass Sean Hannity, and QAnon can post whatever!
But it speaks volumes that—with the exception of David Duke who was finally booted in July—they all still tweet. Parler can soak up all the free promo Devin Nunes showers upon it, but it’ll never truly flourish until the exodus from mainstream social media. The cage of their oppression is wide open. All they have to do is spread their wings.