Controversial social-media app Parler has come back online after more than a month without service. The Twitter-like app was a favourite among supporters of former US President Donald Trump and right-wing conservatives. It was banned from Google and Apple’s app stores and Amazon’s web-hosting service, after an armed mob broke into the US Capitol building on 6 January.
Old Parler user accounts have been restored, but old “parleys” — the site’s term for posts — don’t appear to have carried over. Some high-profile users, like Fox News host Sean Hannity, have begun posting on the new site already. The timelines for other major accounts, like fellow host Tucker Carlson or Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), remain empty. Many posts were previously archived by an outside researcher who scraped them before its takedown.
Parler’s lawsuit against Amazon remains ongoing
Parler describes itself as politically unaffiliated, but the loosely moderated site became popular with conservative users who were either banned from larger sites or disagreed with the fact-checking and moderation policies of platforms like Twitter and Facebook. After the election, it became a hub for the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” campaign, which escalated into a deadly attempt to overturn the US election on January 6th. The site went offline on January 10th, when its old host Amazon Web Services suspended its account.
The platform has now relaunched with what a press release calls “robust, sustainable, independent technology.” Parler transferred its domain registration in January to Epik, a registrar known for providing a haven to “deplatformed” far-right-friendly sites.
Parler will immediately bring back its current users during the first week of the relaunch and intends to allow new users to sign up the following week, the statement said.
Before the app was knocked offline, however, hackers said they had managed to access an archive of posts and downloads – more than one million videos and images, including some from the 6 January riots. Carolyn Maloney, who chairs the House oversight committee, has asked the FBI to investigate the role of Parler in the violence at the Capitol.