The Anatomy of a Washington Post Hit Piece
This article is authored by Parler CFO Amy Peikoff
I have good news: Parler was just attacked in the press!
The Washington Post just published a story titled, “Parler…. Keep(s) Alleged Russian Disinformation Up, Despite Report.”
Sounds serious, right? How is this good news?
Last week, Reuters ran a story about an independent “news outlet,” N.A.E.B.C. being allegedly linked to some Russian agents’ disinformation campaign, and wrote that the FBI had reached out to social media companies about them.
Parler was never contacted, and we’d never heard of the N.A.E.B.C., so we looked them up. They opened a Parler account on August 25 and have made a few dozen click-baitish parleys, but haven’t gotten much traction. They’re what we call a “follow-for-follow spam account”—one that follows thousands hoping to get follow-backs, but doesn’t make comments. They follow 7,400 but have only 4,700 followers and routinely get fewer than 1,000 impressions per post. The account is also un-verified. The Parler community just doesn’t seem interested.
Quoted in Reuters was an employee of a small marketing firm. According to the WaPo, the firm “works closely with mainstream platforms such as Facebook”—i.e., with our competitors. The firm urged a number of platforms to remove N.A.E.B.C. accounts and apparently most of them jumped right to it.
At Parler, we don’t remove accounts without due process, nor do we engage in digital vigilante justice based solely on accusations. But the implication that Parler is therefore some lawless free-for-all, is based on a false alternative. Our Terms of Service prohibit, among other things, fraud and illegal activity. Anyone who’s interested may read about our Guidelines and our community-based moderation system, which we’ve designed to adjudicate complaints quickly and fairly. We insist on due process—that evidence be weighed, and that each case be judged by a jury of Parler peers.
Neither the marketing firm nor anyone from WaPo accepted our invitation to submit a report via our Community Jury system. Apparently the firm prefers making baseless smears and getting their name in the paper to addressing alleged national security issues. And WaPo happily played along.
The firm’s “takedown”, as they call it, alleges that N.A.E.B.C and a few other ‘dangerous’ linked accounts had found fertile ground on Parler, and claimed that this somehow imperiled this year’s election. I’m no expert, but if a few unverified, low traction Parler accounts are a threat to our Republic, then things are much worse than I thought.
I was disappointed to see WaPo, an important paper of record, run with such garbage, under such a sensationalized headline. Jeff Bezos, whom I’ve defended on Tucker Carlson’s show, should be embarrassed that this was printed in his paper.
The WaPo story rubber-stamps the marketing firm’s implication that Parler welcomes fraudulent content. Untrue! We remove fraudulent accounts, but before we act, we insist on due process. That’s a commitment we’ve made to ourselves and to our community. We won’t take unilateral action because of allegations made in a “report”—even if we’re threatened with negative ink.
If Americans start routinely rushing to judgment and trying to “cancel” others, based solely on accusations presented without hard evidence, we’ve got more to worry about that a few trolls on the Internet. It’s ironic, because the alleged problem with those trolls is that they gain traction while making baseless, fantastic assertions. Other platforms may buckle at any arbitrary assertion combined with the threat of bad ink. But we are committed to our principles and the promises we’ve made to our community.
As our CEO John Matze said, “We’re not going to let either The Washington Post, or Reuters, or this small marketing company, or Facebook through agents—or any other member or cheerleader of this authoritarian cartel—impose their content curation standards and methodologies on us. It’s those very standards and methodologies that we at Parler believe present the most serious threat to our Republic.”
So why is the WaPo story good news? Because it means we are succeeding! It means that, already, we are threatening the technoauthoritarians’ “safe space.” We expect more attacks like this, but we value what we’re building with you, and won’t be bullied into surrendering our principles.
Thank you for standing with us.
Amy Peikoff is the CFO of Parler, and Dan Bongino is an investor in Parler.