Parler — a Twitter-like application that is popular among far-right activists and conspiracy theorists — has been accused by its users of censoring a hashtag supportive of President Donald Trump. The hashtag #WriteInTrumpForGA encouraged users to opt for write-in votes for Trump in January's senate runoffs in Georgia.
The hashtag gained popularity among the right-wing after the Committee for American Sovereignty, a super political action committee with links to conservative political consultant Roger Stone, launched a website "Hack the Runoff." The website encouraged voters to write-in Trump's name on their ballots. However, #WriteInTrumpForGA did not show up any results on Parler on Monday.
"The Parler admins appear to be censoring the #WriteInTrumpForGA hashtag... DISGRACEFUL!" tweeted William LeGate. "What happened to the 1st Amendment??"
Several users complained Parler of curbing "free speech" by the alleged censorship. However, Parler's Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff blamed a "glitch" for the lack of any #WriteInTrumpForGA on the app.
"There may be a glitch, or a delay of some kind, because the initial screen summarizing the results showed "1 post," and then when you click on that, you see a whole bunch," Peikoff wrote, adding that the app's Chief Technology Officer Alexander Blair told her that "*comments* with #writeintrumpforga will not show up in the hashtag search. Only Parleys. So that may be the explanation."
In a separate incident, Twitter was flooded with rumors of Parler being hacked and that the users' social security numbers were compromised after a screenshot of the app's database went viral. However, Parler CEO John Matze called the rumors "fake."
"The alleged 'Parler hack' is a screenshot from a WordPress website that has been circulated repeatedly over the past 6 months, despite Parler's multiple responses that we do not use WordPress products, nor WordPress databases," Matze said.
"All of our databases are hidden behind multiple layers of security and are not accessible via the web. This is an irresponsible rumor that uses a 'techie'-looking WordPress config file, which is only capable of confusing a journalistic hack, not an actual hacker," he added.