The companies that make up the world of Big Tech have some competition coming with the creation and rising popularity of new apps Parler and Triller.
As the push for fairness in Big Tech continues from President Donald Trump and others, companies such as Parler and Triller are looking to topple social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and TikTok from the top.
Parler was launched in 2018 as an alternative to Twitter and Facebook by University of Denver graduates John Matze and Jared Thomson. The point of the app? Free speech.
“There are going to be no fact checkers,” Matze told Forbes in an interview published in June. “You’re not going to be told what to think and what to say. A police officer isn’t going to arrest you if you say the wrong opinion. I think that’s all people want. That’s what they like.”
Parler reportedly has two million users compared to Twitter’s 330 million monthly active users and Facebook’s 2.6 billion monthly active users, according to Statista. The app is free and allows users to share posts containing 1,000 characters.
Triller was created in 2015 and is similar to TikTok, but not quite the same. Triller is marketed as a music-video creator and uses AI technology to edit users’ footage together. On Aug. 2, Triller was ranked as the number one app in all categories in the App store in 50 countries, according to a press release shared by the company.
The app has been downloaded over 250 million times and saw a 20x increase in downloads over the last week of July, the press release stated. (RELATED: Patriotic Capitalism! This U.S. Company Takes The Fight To Tik Tok)
The increase in downloads comes as TikTok has come into President Trump’s focus over the past weeks. National security experts have warned TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, could be a risk to the U.S. due to its ties to China.
“As far as TikTok is concerned, we’re banning them from the United States,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One, CNN Business reported on Aug. 1. “Well, I have that authority.”
A spokesperson claimed U.S. users’ data is not stored in China and TikTok would resist any attempts by Beijing to obtain the data.
“TikTok US user data is stored in the US, with strict controls on employee access,” spokesperson Hilary McQuaide told CNN Business. “TikTok’s biggest investors come from the US. We are committed to protecting our users’ privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”
Most recently, Trump signed a pair of executive orders banning individuals from communicating with TikTok’s parent company for the next 45 days as of Aug. 6. (RELATED: Trump Signs Pair Of Late Night Executive Orders Banning Communications With TikTok, WeChat Parent Companies)
As previously reported, Trump’s executive orders bar “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States,” with ByteDance and Tencent Holdings, parent companies of TikTok and WeChat, respectively. The orders ban individuals from communicating with the parent companies for 45 days.
Before Trump set his sights on banning TikTok and the alleged national security threat, he was focused on the issues plaguing the other Big Tech companies including censorship and fairness.
The president signed an executive order in May to roll back Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which protects “interactive computer services” from being treated as a publisher of a third party after two of his tweets were fact-checked by Twitter.
“Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see,” the executive order stated.
“Immunity should not extend beyond its text and purpose to provide protection for those who purport to provide users a forum for free and open speech, but in reality use their power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints,” it continued.
Trump claimed Twitter has had “unchecked power” to censor and called the fact-checking “political activism.”
President Trump has also gone after Big Tech for reportedly committing antitrust violations. As previously reported, he threatened to sign executive orders that would “bring fairness” to Big Tech in July.
If Congress doesn’t bring fairness to Big Tech, which they should have done years ago, I will do it myself with Executive Orders. In Washington, it has been ALL TALK and NO ACTION for years, and the people of our Country are sick and tired of it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2020
“If Congress doesn’t bring fairness to Big Tech, which they should have done years ago, I will do it myself with Executive Orders,” Trump tweeted before the Big Tech CEOs were set to testify in front of Congress. “In Washington, it has been ALL TALK and NO ACTION for years, and the people of our Country are sick and tired of it!”
Could all of this chaos help apps like Triller and Parler climb to the top?