TECH CRUNCH - Jan 12 - Alternative social media apps including MeWe, CloutHub and other privacy-focused rivals to big tech, are topping the app stores following Trump's ban from mainstream social platforms like Facebook and Twitter and the more recent removal of conservative social app Parler from both the App Store and Google Play. In the days since the Parler ban, "free speech"-favoring social networks are seeing notable numbers of new downloads at a quick pace, data shows. Next-generation social network MeWe has been downloaded nearly 200k times worldwide and ranked No. 7 in the U.S. App Store's Top Overall free charts. CloutHub which claims to be a social network for "social, civic, and political networking" with a free speech angle, has seen just 31k installs since Wednesday and now ranks No. 11 on the US App Store. Two other apps that have moved into the top charts are cases of mistaken identity. An app called "Parlor" is being mistaken for the now-banned "Parler" app. From Wednesday through Sunday, "Parlor" became the No. 4 Top App Overall on iOS in the US. Meanwhile, an app called "Gab News" is also gaining ground because it's mistaken for the long since banned app "Gab," which ex-Parler users are suggesting as an alternative. "Gab News," however, is currently ranking No. 44 on the App Store's Top Free Apps Chart in the U.S. Then there is Rumble, a conservative alternative to YouTube. The app has also climbed to No. 78 on the U.S. App Store since Wednesday.