The website of controversial social media platform Parler was back online Sunday, following a nearly week-long outage after it was booted from Amazon Web Services and kicked off Apple and Google’s app stores.
Amazon, Google and Apple cut ties with Parler for what they said was a failure to moderate content and threats of violence by some of its right-wing user base. Some of the Pro-Trump rioters who descended on the US Capitol on January 6, fueled by baseless allegations of voter fraud, had been planning the event and spreading misinformation about the presidential election on Parler.
The website popped back up on Sunday with a message from CEO John Matze, asking “Hello, world. Is this thing on?”
A statement on the site indicated it intends to be back soon.
“Now seems like the right time to remind you all — both lovers and haters — why we started this platform. We believe privacy is paramount and free speech essential, especially on social media,” it said “We will resolve any challenge before us and plan to welcome all of you back soon. We will not let civil discourse perish!”
A WHOIS search indicates that Parler is now hosted by Epik. Parler last week registered its domain with
the Washington-based hosting provider known for hosting far-right extremist content, though Epik denied in a statement that the two companies had been in touch.
Parler has faced massive fallout in the days following the siege on the US Capitol, with various business partners cutting ties.
Apple and Google were first to remove Parler’s app from their stores, also citing its alleged refusal to take down violent content. Not long afterward, many of Parler’s service providers, including Twilio, Okta, and Zendesk, removed Parler from their platforms as well.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview on Fox News Sunday that Parler had been suspended and could be back in the App Store if they “get their moderation together.”
Parler rose to notoriety in recent months as mainstream social media sites have faced increasing pressure to crack down on hate speech, misinformation, and calls for violence. Both Twitter and Facebook have banned President Donald Trump after the deadly Capitol riot, citing the risk of further violence.
Parler, which has maintained that its deplatforming was intended to stamp out competition, filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Amazon last week, seeking to get its website restored.
In a court filing, Parler disputed claims made by Amazon that it had repeatedly warned Parler that violent content on its site — and the company’s lax approach to removing it — were grounds for Amazon to suspend Parler’s AWS contract.
Parler claimed that Amazon, in effect, terminated its contract completely, rather than simply suspending it, and did not warn the social-media company about potential contract breaches until after the Capitol riots — and continuing to try to sell it additional services as late as December.