After the violent riots at the U.S. Capitol which ended in five deaths, social media app Parlor – marketed as a free speech platform – was removed from both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store after being connected to white supremacist groups supporting the riots and inciting continued violence. Google and Apple justified the move by claiming the executives of Parlor refused to implement proper moderation rules to prevent hate speech and the spread of misinformation that could contribute to future violent riots across the country.
It’s unclear whether Parlor will look to bolster their moderation and reapply for listing with Google or Apple, however communications from Parlor investor and right-wing commentator Dan Bongino point to their platform potentially permanently shutting down in the near future. Still, the popular social media platform amassed millions of mostly conservative users in its short history, and data over the last weeks shows how more encrypted and private messenger platforms are seeing an enormous influx in new users – presumably coming from the now defunct Parlor.
In data collected by Axios from Apptopia, popular encrypted messenger Signal saw a 677 percent increase in new users between Jan. 5-10 – a time frame encompassing both the Capitol riots and subsequent banning of Parlor across major app stores. Other alternative messenger platforms like CloutHub, MeWe and Telegram all saw similar large increases of 472 percent, 244 percent and 146 percent, respectively, during the same time period.