“Follow me on Parler” was a battle cry from many conservatives who wanted to say goodbye to what they saw as the more censored, mainstream social media and news applications for alternatives. With so many people flocking to “alternatives” such as Parler, MeWe and Newsmax, they are indeed soon on their way to becoming mainstream.
Parler has become the most downloaded app in the United States, while MeWe and the Newsmax app rank just behind it as the top 3 free downloadable apps on the iOS App Store. Dan Bongino, the owner of Parler, said that the service gained thousands of users per minute on Sunday, the day after the election to which Joe Biden was called. According to data from SensorTower, Parler’s App recorded 980,000 downloads – from the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store combined – between November 3 (Election Day) and November 8, with more than half of those downloads (636,000) coming on Sunday alone. This put Parler at the top of the rankings for both iOS and Google’s App Store.
Parler’s rise to the number 1 free apps is dramatic. On November 2, he was ranked #1,023 on the iOS App Store and #486 on the Google Play Store ranking the week before the election. Parler also gained traction during the summer during the protests of the social movement and has been downloaded about 3.6 million times since its launch in 2018 in the USA.
Meanwhile, the app for the social networking site MeWe is number 2 among the free downloadable apps in the iOS store. MeWe tries to attract people who are turned off by many of Facebook’s restrictions, and markets itself as a “privacy first” platform that will never try to collect users’ personal information and allows users to retain rights to all content they post. MeWe does not currently show any advertising either, unlike the advertising-heavy Facebook.
The number 3 free downloadable app on the iOS App Store is Newsmax TV, a news channel with a conservative orientation, which also encrypts the cable TV viewers of conservatives who believe that Fox News is becoming too liberal. Although iOS does not publish download numbers, Newsmax said its app had over half a million downloads after the election.
While Donald Trump’s supporters are looking for other options after the ongoing litigation over his administration’s election results, the incumbent president himself is not currently with Parler or MeWe. The sudden onslaught of new users is also causing technical problems, such as reported problems with registration and slowdowns with apps.
Users can expect these technical problems to be solved at some point, while the current heavyweights in social apps like Twitter and Facebook are waiting to see if this boom is just a temporary reaction to the election. If not, one could speculate that more user-friendly changes could come across the more established platforms.