The social network Parler, often referred to as a home for far-right users, has made it back online. With a new hoster, they are now apparently planning their return.
The website of Parler.com has been back online for a few hours, albeit currently only in a limited form with a simple placeholder. The only thing you can currently read there is a greeting from CEO John Matze from January 16th, under which you can find references to the "technical problems".
Parler seems to be getting back online. pic.twitter.com/YtOycG3YhJ— Donie O'Sullivan (@donie) January 17, 2021
The message promises users that they will "resolve any challenges ahead" and plans to have all users "welcomed back very soon." Last week, Apple and Google removed Parler's apps from their stores, while Amazon disabled hosting. This was in response to the attack on the US Capitol, in which Parler is believed to have played a central role.
Parler.com: controversial network at new registrar
The service's domain had been with Epik for several days, a registrar that's already home to various other far-right sites. It is not yet clear who will be responsible for actually hosting the platform in the future once the placeholder disappears.
The future of Parler's apps is also uncertain. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with Fox News that they would relist the app if Parler implemented stricter content moderation. "We looked at the incitement to violence that was on [Parler]. And we don't consider that free speech and incitement to violence has an intersection," Cook said.
Parler: "Privacy is paramount"
After the site and apps were disabled last week, users' data surfaced on the web soon after. Using the simplest of means, it was possible to programmatically download users' messages. Furthermore, metadata from images or videos were not automatically removed. This information thus revealed, among other things, where the users were at the time of the attack on the Capitol.
gps metadata of 68k videos uploaded to parler pic.twitter.com/t4WKzJ8thB— Kyle McDonald (@kcimc) January 12, 2021
That privacy is of paramount importance – a promise Parler used to promote its own platform before – is thus dubious at best. Messages marked as private or even deleted were part of the now available data. The latter were only marked as deleted by the system, but not actually removed from Parler's database.