The man behind the conservative social media platform Parler this week clarified the ownership structure of the website after an image was spread in the social media claiming that the app belongs to billionaire and philanthropist George Soros.
Parler CEO John Matze said in an article on Wednesday that Soros has “no connection” to his company, which climbed to the top of Apple’s and Android’s app stores this week after Joe Biden’s election victory over President Donald Trump.
“Can you believe how desperate the trolls falsely claim that Parler [belongs]to Soros? Matze wrote on his profile. “Minus 10 points for lack of creativity.”
The Parler team was forced to respond when a Photoshop-edited image circulated on Twitter that was supposed to look like a Fox News segment and seemed to deceive some users. A number of Twitter profiles spread it through the #SorosOwnsParler hashtag.
The fake picture showed a Chyron reading: “Fox News confirmed: George Soros is majority owner of the new social platform Parler”.
Just read the banner below, Q-nuts will lose their eternally beloved mind. ððððððððððð pic.twitter.com/YH4mGt2rSQ
– REESUS PATRIOTâ¢ð (@ReesusP) November 11, 2020
A strange disinformation campaign is underway to either convince people that George Soros owns Parler or that Fox has falsely reported that he owns Parler, all with a poorly edited Fox screenshot. Dan Bongino is not enthusiastic. pic.twitter.com/KuzXB5yN83
– Will Summer (@will summer) November 11, 2020
Several profiles that spread the image on Twitter attracted thousands of posts and favors. As screenshots flowed through social media even today, some users seemed to believe the claim – many repeated it. As one Twitter user remarked, “It’s all over YouTube. You just have to know where to look. George Soros is definitely the owner of Parler!
Soros is a frequent target of conspiracy theories and has been branded in the media as a long-time “boogieman” of the far right, funding progressive causes through his philanthropic organization, the Open Society Foundations.
As a Hungarian-American Jewish billionaire, he was accused of “owning” or funding a number of movements, including Black Lives Matter and the Antifa, while other conspiracies also accused him of funding anti-trump protests. Many of the unfounded allegations have a very distinct anti-Semitic connotation, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
“Soros has become a lightning rod for conservative and right-wing groups who object to his funding of liberal causes,” the ADL said in a statement back in 2018.
The claim of the billionaire’s involvement in Parler was also rejected on Wednesday by Dan Bongino, a conservative personality and investor in the app.
He twittered: “This is a Photoshop processed image. THIS IS NOT REAL. There are people out there who are desperately trying to bring down Parler, spreading BS and hoping that you will buy it. I HAVE PARLER MYSELF. This is the 4th or 5th time I’ve had to fight this stuff.”
This is an image edited with Photoshop. THIS IMAGE IS NOT REAL. There are people out there who are desperately trying to bring down Parler, spreading BS and hoping that you will buy it. I HAVE PARLER OF MY OWN. This is the 4th or 5th time I have had to fight this stuff. Again, this is not a real picture. ðð “ðð” https://t.co/WreBkqp7JU
– Dan Bongino (@dbongino) November 11, 2020
Parler will remain at the top of the iOS and Android download charts starting Thursday, as data from the Sensor Tower analysis platform shows. Since the November 3 election, which was won by Trump’s democratic opponent Biden, conservative social media users have claimed to leave mainstream sites such as Facebook and Twitter, citing censorship.
High-profile users – including Fox host Sean Hannity, Senator Ted Cruz, Congressman Devin Nunes and radio host Mark Levin – have won millions of followers.
Matze said in a press release on Tuesday that the site has experienced “exponential growth,” but noted that errors and glitches have occurred in integrating so many new users.
He claimed that the “suppression of voting information” by Facebook and Twitter was an important catalyst for the increase in downloads. As the election approached, both sides had labeled or covered some of the president’s posts for violation of the policy of misinformation.
Matze said that since last Friday more than 4.5 million new