On the Day Twitter Banned Trump, Parler Downloads Surged by More Than 500%

The service is now shut down as it seeks a new hosting service

Sarah Emerson
OneZero
Published in
3 min readJan 11, 2021

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Photo: NurPhoto/Getty Images

App downloads of “free speech” platforms Parler and MeWe jumped in the days following riots at the Capitol on Wednesday and the subsequent permanent suspension of President Donald Trump’s Twitter account. Before Parler’s removal from the App Store and Google Play on Friday, the platform gained tens of thousands of downloads in the United States alone.

According to daily download data from Apptopia, which tracks mobile app trends, Parler was downloaded roughly 16,600 times in the U.S. last Wednesday, 14,300 times on Thursday, and approximately 94,700 times on Friday, up until its removal from app stores.

MeWe, which functions similarly to Facebook, saw roughly 9,200 U.S. downloads on Wednesday, approximately 13,800 on Thursday, and more than 34,000 downloads on Friday, January 8.

In the few days leading up to Wednesday’s riots, Parler averaged roughly 14,500 daily downloads while MeWe averaged roughly 9,500.

Data analytics firm SensorTower told TechCrunch over the weekend that within the U.S., Parler saw “approximately 182,000 first-time downloads on 1/8, up 355% from about 40,000 installs on 1/7.” When asked about the discrepancy in figures between the two estimates, a representative from Apptopia said, “Typically our estimates are more conservative on big bursts, but over time, our numbers tend to find each other.”

Far-right communities have been migrating to alternative social networks such as Parler, MeWe, and Gab since 2019, when mainstream platforms Facebook and Twitter began to aggressively moderate movements like Stop the Steal. This phenomenon peaked last week when Trump was momentously banned from Twitter after tweeting sentiments that could have incited physical violence, such as the attempted coup in Washington, D.C.

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Sarah Emerson
OneZero

Staff writer at OneZero covering social platforms, internet communities, and the spread of misinformation online. Previously: VICE