The quest for social media clout has often been criticized for contributing to "circle jerk" conversations, especially on Twitter where schools of outrage fish share their ire for an issue. In most instances, it's all predicated on pre-supposed knowledge or facts that haven't been thoroughly vetted, and only once we're 10,000 retweets and e-petitions in does the truth come out. That means Parler may suffer the same fate, especially with the "echo" feature on the platform.
What does Echo mean on Parler? It's basically "retweet."
If you haven't heard of Parler, it's being called "Twitter for Conservatives." Just like in life, the internet's full of echo chambers where people self-congratulate and validate one another's feelings. Evidence that contradicts their own feelings and biases are summarily downvoted and they're "winning" in the bubble that they've created. It's a dynamic that's been oft-discussed from both extreme sides of the political spectrum.
Both far-left and far-right political outlets have been criticized for presenting news stories with specific agendas/narratives and only providing coverage to hit specific issues that they want to tee off on while speaking to the biases of their intended demographics. CNN has been lambasted for having a liberal bias, Fox News for being traditionally conservative, etc.
And people are alleging that this same type of bias exists on popular social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. While there are niche groups like anti-vaxxers who aren't happy major platforms and sites are deleting posts for "misinformation," it turns out that this pertains to political information too. There was a huge outrage on Instagram leading up to the 2020 election for blurring out memes that reportedly contained misleading information about voting statistics.
There are numerous examples where specific talking points and memes with false quotes being attributed to popular individuals (like Patrick Mahomes) are shut down. And it seems like there are enough people of a particular mindset who want to be able to share their ideologies and statistics, even though they can be factually proven wrong or misleading in many instances, on the platform of their choice.
There's been a lot of talk about how America "is more divided than ever," but is Parler yet another example of this divide? The app is branding itself as a "free speech platform" that promises a bot-free experience (a huge problem with Twitter these days) and a focus on user-privacy without any data sharing. There's also a vow that you'll never be "deplatformed for your views."
A Des Moines Register piece talks about this "de-platforming," and how a relatively innocuous St. Patrick's Day video where he is wearing a green "Make America Great Again" hat resulted in a lifetime Google Ads ban.
The issue of de-platforming could be a big reason why Parler and apps like it are gaining traction; Parler has registered some 2.8 million unique users since its debut in September of 2018.
What does the up arrow mean on Parler?
It's a feature that tons of people were requesting on Twitter: the ability to down or upvote a comment. If you agree with something someone said, you can not only "echo" it, but you could also give it a "like." But you can't downvote a comment to show that it's an opinion you disagree with.
Facebook will let you sorta do this by using a different reactive face, but the upvote function on Parler is basically just like Twitter's "heart" functionality. Personally, I wish there was a downvote feature.
Also, there's the fact some users might not like the fact that Parler won't censor any tweets or opinions.
So it could mean that we'll eventually have a platform filled with Alex Jones type figures who are swearing that water is making frogs gay — yet another reason there needs to be a downvote feature.