(November 19, 2020 / JNS) Parler, a social-media website founded in 2018 that prides itself on allowing virtually unfiltered viewpoint, has allowed anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry to flourish on its site, according to a report released on Thursday by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The report details how Parler has taken no action against anti-Semitic and overt racist postings, including one depicting former U.S. President Barack Obama with a noose.
“We submitted these materials for Parler’s review and have spoken with senior officials of the company who emphasized that Parler makes room for all speech,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and director of global social action at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in a statement. “We emphasized that the last thing our nation needs is for Parler to become home to a subculture of hatred and violence that besets other social-media platforms. We are grappling not only with the [corona]virus but the virus of anti-Semitism that saw 60 percent of religion-based hate crimes last year targeting American Jews.”
He added that “this opens the door wide for white supremacy, neo-Nazism and conspiracy theories that range from Holocaust denial to charge that COVID-19 is a hoax.”
The report also shows the international reach of Parler and its increased role as a space for extreme far-right individuals and organizations like the Proud Boys. Parler has surged in popularity after endorsements by multiple figures, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and Eric Trump, one of U.S. President Donald Trump’s sons.
In fact, it has emerged as a growing alternative to larger platforms like Twitter and Facebook, which conservatives have criticized for censoring and flagging right-wing content.
While Parler seeks to be as much of an unfiltered website of viewpoints as possible within legal limits, Cooper said that “we should be able to experience a platform that is open for the full gamut of the marketplace of ideas without allowing for a subculture of hate that feeds anti-Semitism and racism. Unfortunately, as the report shows, it has also attracted extremists who seek to use social media platforms to inject their hate into the mainstream of society.”
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