President Trump’s removal from most social media platforms, starting with Twitter, has precipitated a wide scale effort to deplatform Parler, a social media platform designed for and created by conservatives. At midnight on Sunday, Parler was taken offline, after its servers were pulled by Amazon.
Parler’s troubles began earlier this week after a large group of pro-Trump protesters took to Washington D.C., some of whom proceeded to mob the U.S. Capitol. While Twitter acted quickly to remove participants of the riot who posted their antics on the social media platform, Parler allowed their posts to proliferate freely. The platform failed to take action against key agitators in the protest, including the lawyer Lin Wood, who egged on the rioters and called for the execution of Vice President Mike Pence.
Apple threatened to remove Parler from its App Store, and Google followed suit by temporarily suspending Parler’s distribution on its own Google Play store, unless Parler removed the offending posts which were deemed a celebration or incitement of further violence. Failing to remove the content, Parler’s hosting was then taken offline by Amazon, whose servers host the website, and given 24 hours to vacate its data.
As of early Monday morning, Parler is no longer reachable on the internet, either via the web or through its mobile apps.
In a statement, Parler CEO John Matze claimed that the site would return shortly, but his optimism was diminished in a subsequent statement in which he said that the platform was struggling to find a new host due to the onslaught of negative press.
Matze said that every vendor had dropped its business with Parler, including lawyers who represented the company.
“Every vendor from text message services to email providers to our lawyers all ditched us too on the same day,” Matze said on Fox News. He conceded that the bans could put the company out of business while raising free speech issues, and referred to it as “an assault on everybody.”
“They all work together to make sure at the same time we would lose access to not only our apps, but they’re actually shutting all of our servers off tonight, off the internet,” Matze said. “They made an attempt to not only kill the app, but to actually destroy the entire company. And it’s not just these three companies.”
The site, which was launched two years ago, became a magnet to extremist elements who moved to the app following removals from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. While it remained a fraction of the 89 million followers President Trump had on Twitter, the site was quickly shaping into a competitor to the Silicon Valley tech giants after Trump joined Parler.
While Parler may still return to operational status, it will do so in a diminished capacity, due to the removal of its apps from both Google and Apple platforms.
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