BOSTON (AP) — The right-wing friendly social network Parler, which was forced offline following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, said it is re-launching.
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.
An interim CEO, Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots movement, said in an emailed statement Monday that Parler would be brought back online for current users this week with new users being able to sign up next week.
The only content available on the website, however, was a single, static page whose lead post reminded viewers of “technical difficulties.” An attempt to log into the Parler app on Monday failed, citing a “network error.”
Public internet records showed that Parler was being hosted by a Los Angeles 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.
A SkySilk representative did not immediately respond to questions about support the company is providing to Parler. For a time after Amazon dropped it, Parler was receiving 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.
In a lawsuit seeking to force Amazon to restore its service, Parler's management claimed that Amazon aimed to deny Trump "a platform on any large social-media service.” That followed Twitter's decision to permanently ban the former president from its service and similar indefinite bans by Facebook and Instagram.
Parler’s previous CEO, John Matze, says he was fired on Jan. 29 by the Parler board, which is controlled by conservative donor Rebekah Mercer. At the time, Matze told The New York Times that he'd told Mercer that Parler needed to consider preventing domestic terrorists, white supremacists and followers of QAnon, a baseless conspiracy theory, from posting on the platform.
The 2 1/2-year-old social media site claims 20 million users. Trump never established an account there, although Buzzfeed reported that he considered buying a stake in Parler while he was president.