GOP lawmakers join social media app billed as alternative to Big Tech

A group of Republican lawmakers and allies of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Trump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' MORE are joining Parler, a social media app that bills itself as an "unbiased" alternative to platforms like Twitter and Facebook, and urging their followers to do the same. 

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad How conservative conspiracy theories are deepening America's political divide MORE (R-Texas) became the latest prominent Republican to announce the move on Thursday, saying in a video shared on Twitter and YouTube that he was "proud" to join a platform that "gets what free speech is all about." 

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads How conservative conspiracy theories are deepening America's political divide Gianforte halts in-person campaigning after wife, running mate attend event with Guilfoyle MORE (R-Ky.) and Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHow conservative conspiracy theories are deepening America's political divide Lawmaker-linked businesses received PPP loans Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November MORE (R-Calif.) have also shared tweets about their move to Parler. In a tweet shared Wednesday, the same day a judge ruled Nunes could not sue Twitter over content posted by its users, the congressman described Twitter as "hell" and said, "Parler is open for business!"

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Trump campaign manager Brad ParscaleBradley (Brad) James ParscaleMORE, Donald Trump Jr., Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpHillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down GOP lawmakers join social media app billed as alternative to Big Tech Lara Trump: Twitter no longer 'a platform for free speech' MORE, Lara TrumpLara Lea TrumpHillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill banning federal government use of facial recognition tech | House lawmakers roll out legislation to establish national cyber director | Top federal IT official to step down GOP lawmakers join social media app billed as alternative to Big Tech Trump campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition MORE and Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiNadler: Barr dealings with Berman came 'awfully close to bribery' READ: Ousted Manhattan US Attorney Berman testifies Barr 'repeatedly urged' him to resign Ousted Manhattan US Attorney Berman to testify before House next week MORE are among the prominent conservatives that have joined the social network, according to The Hollywood Reporter

"Big Tech is out of control, filled with hubris and flagrantly silencing those with whom they disagree, from conservative media organizations to the president of the United States," Cruz said.

The move to the alternative platform comes as Republican lawmakers ramp up their attacks on major tech companies over alleged bias against conservatives.

Many in the GOP have seized on recent content moderation decisions made by Facebook and Twitter as evidence that they are trying to stifle speech by Trump and others in the party. Cruz and several Republicans also targeted Google last week over decisions it made related to a pair of right-wing news sites. 

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There's no evidence suggesting systemic anti-conservative bias among major tech companies.

Parler, which was launched in 2018, touts itself as "an unbiased social media focused on real user experiences and engagement." The company says on its website that content appearing on the site is "moderated based off the FCC and the Supreme Court of the United States which enables free expression without violence and a lack of censorship."

The company's user base is a fraction of Twitter and Facebook's. Twitter has about 330 million monthly active users and Facebook has a global user base of more than 2 billion. In contrast, Parler's app has been downloaded an estimated 1 million times, Business Insider reported, citing data from Apptopia. 

Apptopia told Business Insider that the app had a record 40,000 downloads on Wednesday. 

"We are thrilled to see that support for Parler is growing and being utilized by anyone who seeks out and/or champions free and fair debate in a true public square,” Parler co-founder and Chief Executive John Matze told The Wall Street Journal.

“It is not Parler’s job to weigh in on political matters," he added. "We believe in free speech and fair elections. Period.”

It remains unclear if the moves to Parler are part of an effort to stop using the other social media platforms entirely. Many prominent Republicans and conservative media figures have massive followings on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which is owned by Google. Cruz, for example, has about 3.7 million followers on Twitter alone.