Conservative angst over President Trump’s loss has resulted in a surge of downloads for Parler, a conservative social network founded as an ideological alternative to Facebook and Twitter. According to data from SensorTower, Parler’s app saw 980,000 downloads in total between November 3rd (Election Day) and November 8th, with more than half of those downloads (636,000) coming on Sunday alone. (The totals represent both Google Play Store and iOS App Store downloads.)
That surge in downloads has also pushed Parler to the top of the app store rankings. It is currently the #1 free app in the iOS App Store, up from #1,023 on November 2nd. It’s also #1 in the Google Play rankings, up from #486 the previous week. The app has been downloaded approximately 3.6 million times in the US so far, per SensorTower.
Parler has been a central hub for many of the conservative protests against recent election results, including the ongoing “Stop the Steal” campaign. A number of prominent conservative pundits have urged followers to join the network in recent days, out of frustration with moderation on Twitter and Facebook.
It has also become a haven for the kind of right-leaning conspiracy theories that are discouraged on the larger networks — particularly regarding the election. In a digest email on Monday, Parler listed its top post as a report from the Falun Gong-aligned NTD News, alleging supposed “statistical anomalies” in recent vote counts.
In recent months, Twitter and Facebook both adopted strict policies against voting-related misinformation, and those policies were strictly enforced in the confusion following Election Day. The enforcement was particularly strict against President Trump, who has used both networks to raise spurious doubts about mail-in voting, call for vote counts to be halted, and prematurely announce his campaign’s victory in the state of Pennsylvania. (Pennsylvania was later called for Joe Biden.) As a result of those and other infractions, a total of 16 tweets from the president faced some kind of restriction from Twitter in the days following Election Day.