Parler back online on ‘independent technology’

Tech

This illustration picture shows social media application logo from Parler displayed on a smartphone in Arlington, Virginia on July 2, 2020. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

BOSTON (NewsNation Now) — Parler, a social media service popular with right-wing users that virtually vanished after the U.S. Capitol riot, re-launched its social media platform on Monday and said its new platform is built on “sustainable, independent technology.”

The Twitter alternative has been struggling to return online since Amazon stripped it of web-hosting service on Jan. 11 over its unwillingness to remove posts inciting violence. Google and Apple removed Parler’s app from their online stores for the same reason.

Parler said in an emailed statement Monday that it would be led by an interim CEO, Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots movement. It said the service would be brought back online for current users this week with new users being able to sign up next week — and would not be reliant on “so-called Big Tech.”

Despite the relaunch, the website was still not opening for many users and the app was not available for download on mobile stores run by Apple and Alphabet-owned Google, which had earlier banned the app.

While several users took to rival Twitter to complain they were unable to access the service, a few others said they could access their existing account.

Guidelines accessible on the site, dated Feb. 14, said Parler would use technology and human review to remove “threatening or inciting content.” They said a “community jury” headed by a Parler employee would hear appeals.

Parler was being hosted by a Los Angeles cloud services company, SkySilk. Ron Guilmette, a California-based internet researcher and activist, said SkySilk appeared to be a small outfit and that it was not clear to him whether it could provide adequate security for the site. In particular, Guilmette cited the need for robust defense against denial-of-service attacks, which flood a site with data traffic to make it inaccessible. Such attacks are a threat to any major internet site — especially if their content is at all controversial.

SkySilk did not respond to questions about the level of support the company is providing.

Its CEO, Kevin Matossian, said in a statement that the company “does not advocate nor condone hate, rather it advocates the right to private judgment and rejects the role of being the judge, jury and executioner. Unfortunately, too many of our fellow technology providers seem to differ in their position on this subject.”

Mattossian added that his company applauded Parler’s new community guidelines.

For a time after Amazon dropped it, Parler received denial-of-service protection from a Russian-based outfit called DDoS-Guard. That ended following revelations that DDoS-Guard had provided services to shady operations, including online forums popular with credit card thieves.

“Parler is being run by an experienced team and is here to stay,” said new Parler CEO Meckler, who had co-founded the Tea Party Patriots, a group that emerged in 2009 within the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement and helped elect dozens of Republicans.

The 2 1/2-year-old social media site claims 20 million users.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report. All reporting by Reuters’ Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru and Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; and AP’s Frank Bajak

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