Twitter And Parler Have Similar Porn Policies, But WaPo Targeted The Free Speech Site

Twitter And Parler Have Similar Porn Policies, But WaPo Targeted The Free Speech Site

The Washington Post published an article last week accusing the social media platform Parler of crawling with explicit, Trump-themed content, but a closer look shows the site’s sensitive content policies are no different from other websites like Twitter.

“Parler’s got a porn problem: Adult businesses target pro-Trump social network,” the headline read.

The Post accused Parler of having “lax moderation policies” making it a “magnet for pornographers, escort services, and online sex merchants.”

In a Washington Times op-ed published Monday, Parler COO Jeffrey Wernick pushed back on the Post, calling the reporting “demonizing” and denouncing the “half quotes and half facts” as mischaracterizations.

“Parler does not welcome, nor promote any type of pornographic (child or adult) imagery, video content, or pornographic marketed goods on our platform,” he said. “Our platform’s foundation is built upon two core ideas: privacy and freedom. Parler is a paradigm shift for the future of social media, and as evidenced by slanderous articles such as these, mainstream media outlets are scared.”

The Washington Post story claimed Parler previously banned pornography altogether, but now accommodates anything legal. Wernick clarified that Parler has taken steps to ensure its core ideas of privacy and freedom are upheld by establishing labels for legal porn published on the platform and installing a “jury pool” of verified, trained Parler members responsible for reporting posts that violate the site’s terms of service.

“We don’t ban it, but there is very big difference between welcoming something and not banning it,” Wernick told The Federalist, also noting that Paler is not exclusive to Trump supporters as WaPo suggested.  

“In one week we had over 100,000 reports filed,” he added. “We have had a significant amount of people community policing and it works.”

The opportunity to join a jury pool and assist in moderating content on Parler was extended to the WaPo journalist, Wernick stated.

“I don’t think we can be any more transparent than letting people become part of the jury pool experience, you know, and judging themselves how serious we take these issues,” he said.

Wernick also noted, despite WaPo’s claims that pornography on Parler “threatens to intrude on users not seeking sexual material,” users are given an option to opt-out of “NSFW” posts using a content filter. Any porn that is posted in front of the filter gets reported.

“Recent aggregated data of Parler members finds that less than 1% of the close to 12 million members of the Parler community have actively chosen to be exposed to sensitive content, reinforcing the widely held sentiments of those active within Parler’s public square: pornography is not welcome,” Wernick wrote.

Wernick also criticized the Post for “shoddy journalism and biased reporting” without applying the same scrutiny to social media platforms like Twitter, which has a similar policy allowing the consensually-produced adult content.

“Unlike the tweets of President Trump and other GOP political leaders that have almost instantaneously been taken down, Twitter allows these posts to remain on their site,” Wernick wrote.

“For those at The Washington Post, when it comes to a platform representative of everything they attempt to quash regularly, i.e. free speech, the right to privacy and free thought, it is easier to define things by exception, and not the rule,” he wrote. “People who would never get a second glance for the content they post on Twitter and Facebook are being vilified by the media for joining Parler — because their ideas deviate from that of the media dominating left.”

Jordan Davidson is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.
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