‘Free Speech’ Protector Parler Blocks Georgia Election Hashtag, Users Say
Parler was marketed as the place to go to escape social media ‘censorship’ — a place where opinions would never be silenced. Critics have mocked it as a ‘safe space’ for racists and neo-Nazis. Now, some users say they’re being censored for a political viewpoint.
On Twitter, the hashtag #writeintrumpforga trended. It referred to the upcoming Georgia special elections, and suggested voters, in an act of protest, write in Donald Trump’s name instead of one of the conservative senate candidates. This would be a scolding to the pair for failing to sufficiently support and stand with Donald Trump, the posts suggested. According to the Daily Beast, this effort was associated with Roger Stone initially, but entities connected to him have denied this, saying that it’s actually liberals promoting the hashtag.
In fact, the PAC Really American is connected to efforts to encourage Republican infighting on these elections, posting billboards across Georgia to invite GOP voters to ditch the candidates in these two elections.
We’re being attacked by Breitbart and the Georgia Republican Party for putting these billboards up in rural Trump counties in Georgia. Retweet and chip in to help blanket Trump country in Georgia with these billboards. https://t.co/7qdkUiccuP
— Really American 🇺🇸 (@ReallyAmerican1) November 24, 2020
On Parler, however, some users say they can’t find content connected to this viewpoint. Parler says they’ll never (PDF) curate content or limit a viewpoint — but according to Newsweek, users searching for the #writeintrumpforga hashtag are coming up empty. Newsweek was able to find the hashtag on the site, as were we here at HillReporter.
However, as you can see, the search didn’t find many — only a few hundred instances of the hashtag. Parler also didn’t suggest a list of other related hashtags the searcher might be interested in, as it does when searching a farther-right, more Q-Anon tag, like “stop the steal” — when searching “stopthesteal” — we were also offered other right-wing conspiracy tags, like “stop Soros,” and “stop white genocide,” along with sentiments that in themselves, are not partisan, but have been co-opted to alternative meanings, like “stop human trafficking.”
Screenshots from Parler users also suggest that finding any content whatsoever on the hashtag has not been a universal experience, though it’s not clear whether this is due o user error, or if Parler did, at some point, block the hashtag entirely before reluctantly allowing it into searches.