Parler, and other “alt-tech” sites, are surging dramatically

Censorship is sending a dramatic surge of users to alternative social media websites

On January 8th, the iPhone Parler App was the single most downloaded app, from Apple’s App Store, in the USA. It was the second most downloaded in Canada. The Android version of the app had already been banned on Google’s App Store.

Sometime early in the day on January 9th, Parler was also banned from the Apple Store. There were many people still looking for the App, that an obscure app with a similar name, Parlor, was the 13th most downloaded free app of the day. Meanwhile, the alternative social media website MeWe surged to 12th place (it was 31st place on January 8th). The pro-privacy Google alternative DuckDuckGo surged to 14th place.

The similar named Parlor App also surged to 5th place for free apps downloaded from the Google Play app store on January 9th, as people searched in vain for Parler’s censored app.

The Alexa score for Parler’s website indicates that it has been one of the most popular sites in the USA for the past few days. Alexa ranks sites in order of popularity.  So a rank of 1 means Alexa thinks the site is the number one most popular site. A rank of 1,000 means Alexa thinks it is the 1,000th most popular site.

Individual country scores are based on 30-day rolling averages. On January 8th, Parler had a US score of 317, on January 9th it was 257, and today it is 216. This is an incredibly large movement. This means that two days of traffic moved a 30-day rolling average by 32%.

Parler’s Canadian score also moved from 856 to 592 in the same time period.

Parler’s international score, which is based on a much longer 90-day rolling average, went from 1,039 to 925.

Similarweb also tracks website traffic the same way, and is perhaps more accurate, though the data is on a big delay. However, what we see from Similarweb is that Parler was actually in decline in December. Similarweb shows traffic increasing by about 600% in November as conservatives lashed out against Twitter’s censorship. Then traffic to the site declined by about a third in December as a lot of people complained that Parler’s website and apps did not function smoothly and had flaws. Another huge complaint about Parler is that you must enter a unique cell phone number to join. Many people say they will not join anything that requires them to enter their phone number.

SimilarWeb shows a similar pattern for the alternative social media website MeWe. Traffic to the site shot up 230% for November and then fell back down 12% in December.

Alexa is currently ranking MeWe as the 745th most popular site in the USA. It had a score of over 1,000 last week. Gab, which is often denounced as an “extreme far-right” website, due to it’s anything goes policies, has entered the top 1,000 US sites for the first time. It has a US Alexa score of 975 right now.

Similareweb already ranks DuckDuckGo as the 25th most popular website in the USA and the 36th in the world. However, Alexa and Similarweb disagree greatly on this site. Alexa only ranks it as 68th in the USA and 154th in the world. However, both agree that DuckDuckGo is rapidly growing.

Free speech Reddit clones are also surging right now. The biggest might by, this is specifically to replace all the pro-Trump groups censored on Reddit. Alexa now ranks as the 410th most popular website in the USA.

BitChute and Rumble, who host a lot of censored former Youtube creators, have both been growing rapidly. Rumble is directly tied to Parler and owned by some of the same people. BitChute is a totally advertisement-free video hosting site. It uses peer-to-peer technology to make it very cheap to stream videos. Basically, when you watch a video on Bitchute, your computer is being used to stream pieces of videos to other people.  Rumble is a commercial site with advertisements like Youtube.

Alexa and Similarweb rank websites by giving out free browser extensions that collect data on what sites the person is visiting. Alexa is now owned by Amazon.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments