Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is announcing Thursday he is joining Parler, a social media platform that bills itself as an “unbiased” alternative to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, which Cruz and other prominent conservative officials have accused of stifling their viewpoints.
In a YouTube video announcing the move, shared with POLITICO, Cruz rails against industry giants for “flagrantly silencing those with whom they disagree, from conservative media organizations to the president of the United States — and millions of Americans in between.”
“That’s why I’m proud to join Parler,” Cruz adds. “This platform gets what free speech is all about, and I’m excited to be a part of it. Let’s speak. Let’s speak freely. And let’s end the Silicon Valley censorship.”
Cruz becomes the latest high-profile Republican to set up an account on the platform as tensions rise between the party and Silicon Valley. Others to recently make the move include Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
On its website, Parler describes itself as “an unbiased social media focused on real user experiences and engagement.”
Cruz did not say he was abandoning sites like Facebook, whose user base includes more than 2 billion people and organizations worldwide.
There’s no evidence of a systemic anti-conservative bias on the major social media platforms. But Cruz and other top Republicans including President Donald Trump have criticized Twitter, Facebook and Google for what they see as unfair treatment of content posted by them and their supporters.
Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, have taken sharp aim at Facebook in particular for declining to take enforcement action against recent incendiary posts by Trump, after rival Twitter began slapping warning and fact-checking labels on identical Trump posts on its platform.
Cruz, a subcommittee leader on Senate Judiciary, has held hearings on allegations that social media companies “censor” conservative speech online, and has called for revamping tech companies’ liability protections over user-generated content.
Asked whether Cruz will remain active on the other platforms he has railed against, including Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube, a spokesperson said Parler “will be one more platform Senator Cruz plans to use to reach the American people.”