Parler: Pornography floods pro-Trump social media app

Hashtags like #sexytrumpgirl and #keepamericasexy were used to spam Parler with hardcore porn sites and escort agencies

Anthony Cuthbertson
Thursday 03 December 2020 18:04
Comments
Right-wing social media app has been flooded with pornography
Right-wing social media app has been flooded with pornography

Parler, a social media app popular with far-right figures and Trump supporters, has been inundated with pornography and sexually explicit material, partly due to its lax moderation rules. 

The self-proclaimed “free speech” app has experienced a surge in popularity in recent months after Facebook and Twitter cracked down on conspiracy theories and misinformation on their platforms.

The influx of users has led to issues with spam and bots, most significantly from adult websites and escort agencies.

Analysis by The Washington Post found hashtags like #sexytrumpgirl and #keepamericasexy were being used to flood Parler with hardcore pornography sites.

Parler recently revised its terms of service to allow pornography on its platform, however it appears unable to properly cope with excessive posting and other spam-like behaviour.

Moderation is outsourced to volunteers, who analyse and remove content that is flagged by users as objectionable.

When asked about the issue, Parler chief operating officer Jeffrey Wernick said: “I don’t look for that content, so why should I know it exists?”

He added: “We don’t want to be spammed with pornographic content.”

Amy Peikoff, Parler’s chief policy officer, said: “Broadly, our whole guiding principle is that we want to allow everything that the First Amendment protects as speech, and nothing that it doesn’t.”

Since it was founded in 2018, Parler has gained a reputation for allowing extreme views and dangerous conspiracies on its app.

It has become a haven for white supremacists and far-right nationalists, with the relaxed rules allowing antisemitism and other hate speech to thrive.

Parler has become popular with adherents to the QAnon conspiracy theory

QAnon adherents and other conspiracy theorists have also flocked to Parler to spread baseless claims about Washington podophile rings and election fraud.

Well-known Republicans like Ted Cruz and famous conservative TV show hosts like Tucker Carlson are among the most prominent members who have signed up to Parler, all gaining significant followings.

Last month, Parler briefly became the most-downloaded app in the US, with founder John Matze claiming that two million new users were added in a single day after the election was called in favour of Joe Biden.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in