Parler, the Twitter-like social media app popular with the far right, is back online after more than a month being downed following the 6 January insurrection in Washington DC.
Parler was founded in 2018 and billed itself as a “free speech-driven” social media platform, but it became a haven for many on the far right who objected to the rules governing misinformation and falsehood on Facebook and Twitter.
After the storming of the US Capitol building on Wednesday 6 January by supporters of Donald Trump, that resulted in the deaths of five people, including one police officer who was beaten to death, Google and Apple removed Parler from their respective App Stores.
In the aftermath, both Google and Apple suspended the Parler app from their respective app stores.
Soon after, Parler was effectively shutdown when Amazon Web Services (AWS) stopped hosting the right wing alternative to Twitter.
Parler launched a lawsuit against AWS in response, and the platform did make an intermittent returned online with the help of a Russian-owned technology company.
But behind the scenes there was trouble. Earlier this month Parler founder and CEO John Matze confirmed he had been fired by the app’s board of directors.
And now it seems that Parler is back online, but with certain caveats.
According to Reuters, Parler re-launched on Monday and said its new platform was built on “sustainable, independent technology.”
Parler seems to be using CloudRoute LLC as its new host and replaced Amazon with open-source software platform Ceph, according to anonymous computer programmer “Crash override”, who uses the Twitter handle @donk_enby.
In a statement announcing the relaunch, Parler also reportedly said it had appointed Mark Meckler as its interim CEO, replacing the fired John Matze.
“Parler is being run by an experienced team and is here to stay,” Meckler, who had co-founded the Tea Party Patriots, reportedly said.
Parler is also reportedly backed by hedge fund investor Robert Mercer, his daughter Rebekah Mercer and conservative commentator Dan Bongino.
But there are some caveats to the return of Parler.
It seems that past posts have been wiped – which strongly suggests that AWS refused to hand over all the data it previously hosted.
Also, Parler is not available for download for new users on either the Google Play Store, or the Apple App Store at the time of writing.
Existing users who have already downloaded the app, can log in apparently.
Android users wanting to download the app must “sideload” the software, meaning it has to be sourced and installed without using Google’s Play Store.
The same will be the case for iOS users.
QAnon is a far-right conspiracy that allege there is a “deep state” campaign against Donald Trump and his supporters.
Essentially QAnon touts there is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles who rule the world, and who control politicians, the media, and Hollywood.
It should be noted that @donk_enby had previously archived the Parler posts of Trump’s supporters, to help reconstruct the role the social media platform played in the deadly assault on the US Capitol.
Posts on Parler have called for the killing of Democrats, Muslims, Black Lives Matter leaders, and mainstream media journalists.