Advocacy group Parents Together Action (PTA), gave a formal warning on Friday regarding alternative social media app Parler, claiming that its lack of content moderation is “dangerous for minors."
“Parents should know that due to Parler’s dangerous combination of an extremist user base and almost non-existent moderation of content, hate speech, incitements to violence and disinformation about the election results are pervasive on the platform”, the parent-led group said.
We urge all parents of children under age 18 to immediately check their kids’ phones and tablets to ensure that their children have not installed Parler. If your child has installed Parler, we strongly recommend that you delete their account and the app.— ParentsTogether Action (@ptogetheraction) November 20, 2020
The organization called on parents to monitor their children's social media use to make sure Parler is not installed, citing its rising popularity following the 3 November US presidential election. The group recommends deleting accounts and the app from any and all devices.
PTA cited Parler as not requiring users to provide age or birth date in the account-creation process.
App use agreements, however, require users to be at least 13 years old and have “express permission” from a legal guardian to sign up.
Concerned about disinformation, PTA referenced posts “explicitly calling for targeted political violence and civil war” following the defeat of US President Donald Trump, as well comments that include hate speech.
"It's crucial that parents are aware of the violence, racism, and extremism that exists on this platform. No child should be on Parler", said PTA co-founder Justin Ruben in a statement.
PTA boasts 2 million members across the United States.
Parler claims to be a “free speech” platform, in contrast to established social media giants, which monitor and mark user posts to flag falsehoods and disinformation. Prior to the November election, Conservative and right-wing figures and commentators championed the app, claiming censorship and bias at the hands of the social media giants.
Facebook and Twitter have begun to label many posts concerning the election as "misinformation", including tweets by Trump raising questions about election results and President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
We have great support on the Election Hoax! https://t.co/ChpkuZvc4s— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2020
While Parler has allowed posts to remain unlabelled, spurring online support, some experts have warned that the potential for misinformation and the circulation of conspiracy theories has increased significantly due to Parler’s unregulated approach.
Last Wednesday, the company had 7.6 million user accounts. A massive increase, compared to 4.5 million a week prior, according to Parler’s chief operating officer, Jeffrey Wernick, while speaking to the Washington Post.
Wernick has suggested that content over-moderation in Facebook and Twitter is the cause for his app's popularity and alleged that the tech giants are driving people away from their platforms.
“I want people to have choices”, he said, adding, “I want there to be one platform out there that people can choose to say, ‘Trust us, we understand there’s a world of disinformation and misinformation, but let us process it".
Conservative radio host Mark Levin, who has had multiple tweets labeled for "misleading about an election or other civic process", called on supporters to move to Parler.
I've been restricted and censored on Facebook. Please make sure you transition to Parler ASAP as I will be leaving Facebook probably by the end of the year.https://t.co/3RnjMoknfj pic.twitter.com/Yaek45yBXI— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) November 19, 2020
Other figures, including former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Fox News host Maria Bartiromo, and Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis have called for supporters to follow suit.