The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Let's see what Parler is giving to the FaceTwitBookTer refugees

So it seems there's this mass exodus away from Face­Twit­Book­Ter with a large portion heading towards MeWe and Parler. I know a few people who have moved towards Parler, and I thought I would take a look at what's up over there.

Of course, if you aren't a member, you can't see much by default—sadly, that doesn't surprise me at all. All these social media type sites want users and what better way than by locking everything up into a walled garden.

So let's see what their User Agreement says:

5. You grant to Parler a license to any content posted by you to the Services, including a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute your content. You agree that Parler or its service providers or partners may display advertising in connection with your content and otherwise monetize your content without compensation to you. You warrant that you have all rights necessary to grant these rights to Parler and Parler users. You also grant a limited non-exclusive, royalty-free license to any user of the Services to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display, and distribute any content posted by you to the Services solely in connection with that users use of the Services. The licenses granted by you hereunder do not include any moral rights or right of attribution.

Parler User Agreement

Scary, but probably required to let people repost posts. Of course, there is Fair Use, but Fair Use gets tricky when the entire post might be 40 words long. Pay close attention to the “service providers or partners” bit—that will become important in a bit.

Continuing on then …

10. You agree to receive communications from Parler, including communications sent by phone, email, text message, or other means of communication. If you provided a phone number to Parler, you are required to notify Parler when you cease to own or control that number to help prevent Parler from sending communications to others who may acquire that number.

Parler User Agreement

If you provide a phone number to Parler? If? There's no “if” here, it's required to sign up. That's the one thing that stopped me cold from creating an account. I get plenty of spam already to my phone, what with the two to three robo calls per day, and the dozen spam text messages over the past month (mostly trying to get me to vote for or against <insert bogey man here>) Email spam I already deal with, but crap like this to my phone? I don't need more crap like that to my phone.

So then there is this, right on the web site:

Parler believes in transparent relationships. We will always provide updates and notifications to keep you informed about changes to the platform.

Parler Values

That's nice. But it's when you dig into the User Agreement that things maybe aren't what they seem …

15. Parler may modify the Terms of this User Agreement in any way and at any time without notice to you, and you agree to be responsible for making yourself aware of any modification of the Terms and to be bound by any modification of the Terms when you continue to access or use the Services after any such modification. As a matter of courtesy, Parler endeavors to inform its users of any such changes …

Parler User Agreement

They'll try their best, but don't hold them to “always provide updates.” Even if they hold to always inform users of updates, who's to say that if they are aquired, the the aquiring company will maintain such a policy.

I'm just saying …

Also on their website, they say:

Any personal data shared with Parler is encrypted for your protection, and never sold to outside entities.

Parler Values

Which appears to be true—they won't sell your data, but they sure will give it away without much thought. They give away

to

It's all spelled out in their privacy policy. And it's pretty typical of all the social media sites.

Their community guidelines are fine—don't do illegal things or spam, and you'll be fine. Even their elaboration on said guidelines are fine—I don't see any real issues there.

It appears that right now, they aren't quite as bad as Face­Twit­Book­Ter, since they aren't as big. They're still bad though, collecting and diseminating user information just like other social websites. And if it weren't for the mandatory phone number, I might have signed up just to see what the fuss is all about. I did sign up for MeWe early last year (and while MeWe asks for a phone number, it isn't mandatory). I never used MeWe that much because it was glacially slow (and still is—I just checked).

Ah well, I'm just glad to have my own little corner of the Intarwebs that I control.

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