After the election, millions of users ran to sign up for Parler, an up-and-coming social media app that has quickly become a hub for conservatives who believe they have censorship from Facebook and Twitter. Those companies have posts labeled or hidden by President Trump and others that disputed the results of the 2020 presidential election.
The crowd signed up to launch Parler earlier this week, topping the list of Apple’s App Store. The increase is reminiscent of other social media upstarts that tried to exploit major markets where Facebook was lacking, such as Snapchat among teens or TickTock for short-form videos.
Taking to Facebook is no small task, and many apps have failed in this effort. Facebook counts more than 3 billion monthly users across its many services, including Instagram and WhatsApp. No other social media platform is even close. Additionally, the company has faced a number of significant challenges, often mimicking their key features and using them to prevent users from leaving.
But new people keep trying. Here are four to watch:
Perhaps the biggest threat to Facebook’s dominance of social media is Tiktok, a wildly popular user-generated video app of Chinese origin. The application shows users a never-ending feed of videos from other users to dance, sing, crack jokes or use engaging augmented-reality visual effects. Over the years, TikTok has emerged as one of the most popular apps on the Internet for teen and young adult users.
Its Chinese counterparts, Tiktok and Doyin, claimed 980 million monthly active users in September, according to app Annie’s data. This speeds the app to cross the 1 billion MAU mark in 2021.
Facebook has noted Tiktok’s fast-paced growth, and in August, it responded with the global launch of reels, a Tiktok copycat feature available on Instagram. Just as Facebook was able to beat Snapchat by bringing stories to Instagram, it is now taking the threat of TickTalk as well.
In addition to Facebook, TikTok also faces regulatory challenges due to security concerns due to its parent company ByteDance, which is based in China. Although Ticketock was able to successfully navigate the threat of closure by President Donald Trump, it is still unclear what will happen to the app under the Biden administration. Regarding the administration’s outlook on Tickcock, a Biden technology consultant said on Tuesday that it was too early to say.
With post-election boom, Parler has increased its total registered members from 4.5 million last week to now around 8 million, according to a statement by Parler COO Jeffrey Wernick. In terms of active users, the figure has increased from 500,000 active devices to more than 4 million two weeks ago.
Like Facebook and Twitter, Parler provides users with standard social media features – a feed where you view posts, photos and videos of users you use. Parler’s biggest draw is how it deploys itself as a vengeance for Facebook and Twitter.
The description of the app on the App Store reads, “Parler is a non-biased, free speech social media focused on protecting user rights.”
Parler, however, is not the first social media app to come around actively catering specifically to conservatives. Four years ago, Gab was, a similar app with the exact same offer. Gay grew by being tied to the shooting at the Pittsburgh Synagogue in 2018, killing 11 people. The shooter, Robert Gregory Bowers, posted on his Gab page an hour before the shooting.
After the shooting, Gab was dug up by his hosting provider and payment processor, forcing the service to go offline, and it never recovered. With a hyper-conservative user base, parlors have to walk to prevent their users from giving a speech for free while stopping their online activity in an offline event that forces the app to close.
Another fast-growing social app is, which lets users create “servers”, where friends can hang out in text-focused chat rooms or voice or video calls. The app is particularly popular among video gamers, who use voice and video call features to chat with their friends while playing online games.
According to the company, its usage has seen more than 100 million monthly active users, up nearly 79% from 56 million last November. Disord claims that it is not a social network, but a communication service because it is radically different from other social apps in that it does not run ads or rely on an algorithmic feed to show users’ content. Instead, Discord makes money by charging users for its Nitro $ 9.99 per month subscription service that offers more features to users.
The Disorder may not consider itself a social media app, but Facebook clearly sees a threat. More and more, Facebook has insisted on making video games an important part of its service, offering live streaming services, cloud gaming, and 50-person group video calls.
OnlyFans is the only one of these social media threats that does not actually offer a mobile app. This is because Offan has become spot-to-spot selling original adult content only to users, which bans Apple from the Apple Store.
Despite not being an app, only OneFans has grown significantly over the past year. It was mentioned earlier this year in a rap poem by Beyoncé, and Tiktok and Instagram users often post their followers linking to their online accounts.
OnlyFans did not reveal how many monthly active users it has, but the app has a total of 75 million users and 1 million creators, up from 30 million users and 450,000 creators in May.
Although, OnlyFans are primarily known to be used to subscribe to and purchase adult content, but there are also some that sell non-pornographic content using subscriptions. If OnlyFans erases users, it can become the de facto standard for users who want a social media experience free of ads.
OnlyFans poses are a unique challenge. Facebook has banned porn on its services throughout its history, and will not be allowed an iOS app if it suddenly decides to change its policies. By going to the adult content route, OnlyFans has carved out a moat that prevents Facebook from stopping its services with Snapchat and TicketLock.