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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Parler, lying in crusty bed of its own making, now explaining limits of free speech to angry users

Illustration for article titled Parler, lying in crusty bed of its own making, now explaining limits of free speech to angry users
Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha (Getty Images)

Parler, the “free speech” social media destination for people too shitty even for Twitter, has been having a rough year. After finding itself facing the online right’s worst nightmare of being temporarily deplatformed, Parler has returned only for its revival to be sullied by internal arguments over why the supposed bastion of free speech is tattling to the FBI about Capitol riot posts.

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Mashable reports that a number of users have responded with characteristic calm after Parler posted about the letter it sent to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform last week. The letter attempts to defend the company’s policies by shifting blame for allowing posts about the riots toward Twitter and Facebook. The letter also makes clear that Parler sent the FBI concerning messages its users made related to the riots in the lead-up to January 6th. The network’s users responded to the letter by calling Parler “snitches” and “a fraud.”

Desperate to keep all its valuable, data-producing rats safely aboard its sinking ship, the official Parler account tried to clear up “questions about the practice of referring violent or inciting content to law enforcement” by stating that “such content violates Parler’s TOS” and that “the First Amendment does not protect violence inciting speech, nor the planning of violent acts.”

This has been a bridge too far for Parler users already forced to suffer the indignities of not being able to post pictures of their poop or register the username “CumDumpster” without getting banned. One user commented on the post by writing that “Parler is choosing to make these choices” and that “No one is forcing them to fuck the American people over, in exchange for getting in bed with big tech and socialists.” Another simply stated: “I don’t like snitches.” Then there are a bunch of posts about the difficulties faced by white Americans these days, someone calling Parler “a disappointing Free Speech platform,” and a person who goes by “CherishLiberty” writing, “NO WORDS CAN DETERMINE A PERSONS ACTUAL INTENT! THEYRE JUST WORDS! REMEMBER ‘STIX AND STONES’ PEOPLE??”

Basically, things aren’t going great for the company. But let’s not be too quick to find their self-inflicted comeuppance funny. Surely nobody could have predicted that a business built on inviting the worst people on the internet to be its users would inevitably result in those same people turning on their hosts, right?

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.