- Conservative-leaning social media sites Parler and Gab erupted with talk of a revolution as mobs stormed the Capitol.
- “The time has come Patriots. This is our time. Time to take back our country. Time to fight for our freedom,” wrote Lin Wood, a pro-Trump lawyer, on Parler.
- “I can’t wait to tell my great grandchildren about this glorious day,” wrote Gab CEO Andrew Torba.
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As a mob smashed its way into the US Capitol, calls for an armed revolution echoed through Parler and Gab, conservative-leaning social media apps.
“Hold your ground!!! Keep the ground you have gained. Do not relinquish what we have,” wrote one Parler user, who went by the handle “Immortal Noble Beard” and identified himself as a Proud Boy.
Many chimed in with posts tagged #revolution, #fightback, #firingsquad, and #civilwar. Others spread rumours that Antifa was behind the mob.
Parler sprung to life in 2018 as a no-holds-barred free speech app, an alternative social network for those too radical for Twitter or Facebook, funded in part by Rebekah Mercer. The network describes itself as “unbiased social media” and has become popular in pro-Trump circles. Many don’t use their real names, and even fewer have photos on their profiles.
Along with alternative platforms MeWe and Gab, it’s been used to organise boots-on-the-ground election protest efforts for months. The hashtag #stopthesteal â€” in reference to the false belief that the election was “stolen” by Democrats â€” has over 678,000 posts on Parler.
Parler didn’t respond to a request for comment.
In the days before the Capital rampage, Parler posts called for action.
One such post, with 34 likes, showed a drawing of an armed George Washington with the text, “We shouldn’t count on Trump saving us. Jan 6th We The People need to be saving him.”
The app is also being used among the rioters to organise, with people posting streets to avoid and listing tools to bring for prying open doors, according to The New York Times.
On Gab, another platform used by Trump supporters to mobilize, the CEO, Andrew Torba, celebrated.
“I can’t wait to tell my great grandchildren about this glorious day,” he wrote.
He claimed Gab’s traffic was up 40% for the day.
As the rioters took over the Capitol, Lin Wood, a lawyer working to overturn the 2020 election, posted a supportive message on Parler.
“The time has come Patriots. This is our time. Time to take back our country. Time to fight for our freedom,” he wrote.
Since its founding, Parler has offered a warm embrace to President Donald Trump, whose “Trump Team” account posted his video message to protestors. The video was removed by both Facebook and Twitter.
“Twitter has just CENSORED Trump’s call for peace. That tells us everything we need to know about who is REALLY behind the escalating violence,” wrote Avi Yemini, a correspondent for Rebel News, on Parler.
While Twitter was flooded with cries to shut down Trump’s account entirely, and did eventually lock the account for 12 hours, Trump’s video was met with about 14,000 upvotes and 5,000 comments on Parler in its first hour.
One user responded by saying, “No change without Bloodshed!”
Another user, Sean Bailey, said the mob violence in Washington was “inevitable.”
“State legislatures didn’t listen. State governments didn’t listen. Congress didn’t listen. State Officials didn’t listen. And the courts didn’t even try to hear them, he wrote. “This was the inevitable outcome.”