Parler, a social media network adopted by right-wing users, announced its relaunch a month after it was shut down by app stores and its web host after the Capitol uprising. Hollie Adams / Getty Images hide subtitles
Hollie Adams / Getty Images
Hollie Adams / Getty Images
Updated at 4:35 p.m. ET
Far-right social media site Parler was brought back to life on Monday with a new web host, revised community guidelines, and a promise that violent content will be removed.
The change follows the unusual move by Amazon Web Services in January of refuse to host Parler on a pattern of violent and hateful posts that the site allegedly did not want to remove, a decision currently being made challenged von Parler in federal court.
Since then the company has been in a crisis. There were mixed Messages from people connected to the company about when exactly it would be back online. Parler’s board of directors fired the CEO of the site and replaced him. Then, on Monday, Parler was revived, though the announcement surprised even some close to the company.
For Parler users, the relaunch is anything but smooth. The website seems to be working at a snail’s pace for users accessing it on computers. The site does not accept new users. Parler doesn’t seem to work at all on cell phones.
SkySilk, a web infrastructure company based outside of Los Angeles, is now hosting Parler, SkySilk’s chief executive Kevin Matossian, who has been confirmed to NPR.
“SkySilk understands that Parler has received an aggressive response from those who believe their platform has been used as a safe haven for some bad actors,” Matossian said in a statement. “Let me be clear, Skysilk does not advocate or condone hatred, but advocates the right to private judgment and rejects the role of judge, jury and executioner.”
He said while the company disagrees with some of Parler’s content, he believes the company is taking “necessary steps” to monitor its platform.
“Again, the issue is not that SkySilk endorses the message, but the messenger’s right to deliver it. SkySilk will support Parler in its efforts to be a non-partisan public space, as we believe that is the only one appropriate course is. ” of action, “he said in a statement.
Matossian refused to comment on the terms of the agreement or under what terms SkySilk will do business with Parler, which was heavily used by the rioters in connection with the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
In new Content guidelines The company, published by Parler on Monday, announced that it would use a “data protection process” using an algorithm and human moderators to remove content that threatens or incites violence. The company also said there will be an appeal process for users who believe their posts have been mistakenly removed.
In addition, Parler says there will be a “trolling filter” in which content that attacks someone because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion will be covered up. Those who want to view the content will be allowed to click through the filter.
Mark Meckler, Parler’s interim CEO, said the platform has been converted to independent technology and “does not rely on so-called” big tech “to operate.
“When Parler was taken offline in January by those trying to silence tens of millions of Americans, our team came together determined to deliver on our promise to our dedicated community that we would return stronger than ever,” Meckler said in a statement . “We look forward to welcoming everyone again.”
Parler, which was founded in August 2018, describes itself as “the world’s leading social media platform for free expression”. In the past, few restrictions were placed on what users can post.
It became home to high profile Conservatives who have claimed without evidence that Facebook and Twitter censored them while worrying misinformation experts warning of false and misleading claims on the platform.
Elizabeth Renieris With Notre Dame University said it was only a matter of time before Parler found a new way to get back online.
“Obviously, there is a risk that right-wing people and communities will migrate from platforms like Twitter, which leads to further polarization and division,” said Renieris. “But Parler’s story also makes a bigger point in terms of the mythology of technical neutrality, not just for the content-rich platforms that we individual end users see and interact with, but also for the myriad and often invisible infrastructure providers who deliver it take.” these services possible. “
In fact, Parler has reached out to web infrastructure companies who have welcomed extremist and hateful websites. including epic, a company based outside of Seattle that supports Parlers Domain, as well as sites such as InfoWars, BitChute, and Patriots.win, previously known as The Donald.
After the presidential election in November, users flocked to Parler, increasing their membership from 4.5 million to 10 million in a week. Parler said Monday that it now has 20 million users. Social media experts say election misinformation and conspiracy theories thrived on Parler – and several other online forums popular with right-wing extremists – in the following months. Researchers have also said that planning for the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol was increasingly being made on the platform that was being used by many document the events of the day.
Days after the uprising, Google, Apple and Amazon took steps Cut off access Parler said it had not done enough to stop the threats of violence rampant on its website. Apple and Google have suspended Parler from their smartphone app stores, and Amazon has launched the site from its web hosting service, citing repeated rule violations.
Parler then filed a lawsuit accusing Amazon of being motivated by “political animus”, arguing that it had abused its power by effectively shutting down a competitor. A federal judge was on Amazon’s side Preliminary rulingParler violated the terms of his contract by not removing any Amazon-marked areas that endanger public safety.
Parler is expected to file an amended lawsuit against Amazon in the coming weeks.
Meckler said in his statement that Parler’s new platform is based on “robust, sustainable, independent technology” without specifying any details.
“Parler is run by an experienced team and is here to stay,” said Meckler. “We will succeed as the leading social media platform for free speech, data protection and civil dialogue.”
The company fired former CEO John Matze earlier this monthFrom what he said there was an argument with Rebekah Mercer – the Conservative donor who controls Parler’s board of directors – over the future of the unregulated speech on the site. Parler has denied his characterization of events.
According to the company, Parler’s Executive Committee is looking for a permanent CEO. Describing Meckler as an attorney, entrepreneur, and free speech advocate, it says he was appointed to guide Parler through the relaunch and search process.
NPR’s Shannon Bond contributed to this report.