Ivanka the Latest Trump to Join Parler, As 'Free Speech' App CEO Defends Users' Right to Say 'Crazy Things'

Ivanka Trump is the latest relative of the president to sign up to Parler, a social network popular with conservative politicians and personalities.

The businesswoman and advisor to her father, President Donald Trump, announced to her 10 million Twitter followers on Tuesday that she had joined the rival platform, which topped the U.S. iOS and Android app store download charts this month.

At the time of writing, she has not yet posted to her Parler account, which has attracted more than 200,000 followers since first being created five days ago.

Ivanka Trump appears to be the third family member to have an official verified account on the social network, which gained significant attention this year by claiming to protect the "free speech" of its users while having an aversion to censorship.

The president's second son Eric joined on May 27 and has 1.6 million followers. Lara Trump, who is married to Eric, has gained 774,000 followers since joining in the same month. The president's daughter Tiffany signed up to Parler in June this year and has 153,000 followers. The president's eldest child, Donald Trump Jr., does not appear to have a verified Parler profile at this time, and remains active on Twitter.

Donald Trump's unsuccessful 2020 election campaign team was active on Parler but the president himself does not appear to have a personal account.

Parler is being funded by wealthy hedge fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer, The Wall Street Journal revealed. The family is well known to invest in conservative causes including political campaigns and news media sites.

Robert Mercer was principal investor in Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy that shut in 2018 after being caught in a Facebook data-harvesting scandal. Conservative political commentator and radio host Dan Bongino said he has also invested in the app.

Appearing on Fox News' on Tuesday, Parler's founder and CEO John Matze pitched the website as a "community town square" that can enable discussions, claiming that media organizations may be "afraid" of the platform for giving people a voice.

He defended his platform for attracting users with fringe or extreme opinions. While the site is now home to the conservative political elite, it was initially a destination for figures who had been banned or restricted from the mainstream social networks.

"When you go out in public people say crazy things all the time, everybody has opinions and some of them might not be the norm," Matze told host Tucker Carlson.

"But it's not against the law to have those opinions," he added. "It's not against the law to express yourself. And if you like one political candidate or another, or you believe or don't believe in climate change, you shouldn't be taken offline because of it."

At first, Parler was embraced by controversial figures such as Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, activist Laura Loomer and right wing personality Katie Hopkins.

Now, it is increasingly being perceived as a viable Twitter alternative by U.S. politicians who claim to have been censored on Facebook or Twitter, and has been promoted by Fox host Sean Hannity, Congressman Devin Nunes and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump and White House senior adviser, addresses attendees as Trump prepares to deliver his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination on the South Lawn of the White House August 27, in Washington, D.C. Trump signed up to Parler this month, and urged her Twitter followers to sign up. Chip Somodevilla/Getty