Corporate and left-leaning US media continue to warn about what they see as the “danger” of alternative social networks that are gaining in popularity as conservatives are leaving major centralized platforms.
The topic has been cropping up often of late on CNN, the latest example being an interview with political ads researcher Bridget Barrett, that, similar to some of the channel’s previous takes on the phenomenon and the rise of platforms like Parler, brought up things like harm to democracy, misinformation, and echo chambers.
Parler is described as an “echo chamber” – because many conservatives are choosing it over the internet’s original echo chambers like Twitter, where they face censorship imposed under the guise of moderation.
But CNN’s hosts and pundits either can’t or don’t want to see the big picture here: than an internet without competition, dominated by a handful of giants, is the ultimate, and the most harmful echo chamber.
Thus Barrett upped the rhetoric a notch when she added “terrorists, both foreign and domestic” to the list of reasons why free speech platforms should not be allowed to exist, at least not in their current form.
Barrett thinks that the US election that just took place was “one of the best run” in many years – and that those who think otherwise, suspect election fraud and express those thoughts on the likes of Parler should have their opinions “countered.”
It’s unclear what form this “countering” should take for alternative social networks to become acceptable to their critics should “fact-checking,” labeling, deplatforming, and censorship expand to Parler, too?
That doesn’t seem likely to happen any time soon not only because platforms like this owe their growth to those users who have had enough of Twitter, Facebook and others, but also because of their own commitment to free speech.
Parler, which was topping the list of most downloaded apps for Android and iOS devices last week, states in its guidelines that while as a private company it is not under obligation to live up to US Constitution’s First Amendment free speech protections, its mission is to provide a platform that operates in the spirit of it.