Last week, Outkick covered the rise of Parler a couple times. My colleague Bobby Burack noted the conservatives who have joined — Ted Cruz, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Brad Parscale, Devin Nunes, Rand Paul, Sean Davis, Dan Bongino, Mark Levin, and Candace Owens — as well as people banned from other platforms like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopolous. He wrote that the platform would blow up if President Donald Trump joined it as well. Parler’s CEO wants liberals to join it too.
Parler is gaining traction as social networks like Facebook and Twitter are drawing the ire of both political parties. Conservatives have had issues with censorship. In recent weeks, Twitter has added disclaimers under Trump tweets; Facebook blocked a Trump campaign ad. Liberals believe that Twitter and Facebook do not go far enough in moderating fake news and hate speech. Blue chip brands have jumped in and demanded more accountability from social platforms.
John Matze, 27, is the founder and CEO of Parler, and he gave an interview with CNBC. He said that the app went from 1 million users to 1.5 million just last week, and he talked about putting a “bounty” out to get high profile liberals to also join the platform:
Matze doesn’t want the app to be just an echo chamber for conservative voices. Personally, he says he doesn’t like either political party and he wants to see more healthy debate. He’s so intent on getting some liberals onto the platform that he’s offering a $20,000 “progressive bounty” for an openly liberal pundit with 50,000 followers on Twitter or Facebook to start a Parler account.
The company will judge the best one, based on engagement with the community, and pay that person the reward. Matze said there’s been such little response that he increased the original proposed payment from $10,000 to $20,000. “The whole company was never intended to be a pro-Trump thing,” Matze said. “A lot of the audience is pro-Trump. I don’t care. I’m not judging them either way.”
If Parler ultimately achieves scale where it has tens of millions of users, Matze is going to wind up having the same dilemmas as John Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg (and Reddit CEO Steve Huffman) about where to draw the line between free speech and hate speech.