OPINION | Parler: Public forum or public threat?

Parler, a social networking platform has made a wave for conservatives. Yasel Avalos says, “If Parler has any hope of coming back, it must change its policies.” Photo courtesy of BBC.

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Recently, networking giants Amazon, Apple and Google have seen criticism stemming from Parler, a social media platform that pitched itself as “Twitter without rules,” and have decided to drop the platform from their servers.

Parler losing its bid to have its place restored as an alternative social media platform was a necessary step to protect the public from inflammatory rhetoric and incited violence. If Parler has any hope of coming back, it must change its policies.

Parler has been a refuge for those who feel their conservative, alt-right comments and views are being muzzled by other networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook has been proactive in its fact-checking in response to misinformation relating to COVID-19 and the 2020 elections. Parler seems to be the polar opposite since it has not heeded Amazon’s warnings to take action against the rise in language inciting violence. Amazon’s warnings mirror that of Apple’s and Google’s over the content posted by its users, so the boot was justified.

The argument of free speech is the main cause of these problems. Free speech that encourages intolerance is ultimately the end of free speech.

Nevertheless, those who migrated to Parler argue that their speech should not be censored. Amazon cited more than 90 posts in which its users incited or encouraged violence. These calls for violence are the same as those that led to the riot on Capitol Hill.

The internet has long been a place where people remove their filter. They say what they like with no belief that what they say will hold them to any consequences; however, what they say does have a material effect in our society, so it should be regulated, at least in regard to incited violence.

If Parler wants to keep its place as a social media platform, it should start censoring incendiary rhetoric to protect the public by updating its guidelines and monitoring content.