Parler servers shut down in wake of US Capitol riot

Originally peddled as a social media network for unbridled free speech, Parler has been taken offline by hosts Amazon following the Capitol riots in the US.

Parler, the Twitter clone known for peddling unbridled free speech with dangerously loose content moderation tools – depending on which side of the fence you sit – has this week seen its hosting services pulled by Amazon. After less than three turbulent years of existence, could this be the killer blow for the app?

Touted in 2018 as an unbiased alternative to Twitter for political discourse, Parler fast became a home for alt-right politicians whose commentary was deemed too derogatory, and/or inflammatory for mainstream platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and even Reddit.

Prior to a permanent Twitter suspension sanctioned this week, Donald Trump had been forced to take a time out on the platform numerous times over the years, and often turned to Parler to voice his grievances.

As a result, Parler fast became a social haven for Pro-Trump groups and conservative rhetoric in general. As Twitter and Facebook tightened up on content policies regarding election and Covid-19 misinformation, activity on Parler spiked last year and continued to gather momentum with Trump announcing his ‘Stop the Steal’ campaign in wake of Biden’s win.

Concern over Parler’s lax regulations had been building for some time in social media circles and finally came to a head last week when a mob of Pro-Trump rioters descended on the Capitol building to disrupt electoral vote formalities. Amid the ransacking and vandalism, five people reportedly lost their lives, and chief members of the Amazon Web Service have since found alarming messages of pre-meditation on Parler prior to the incident.

After the media frenzy that came with the riots, both Google and Apple were quick to cut all ties with Parler on the grounds of failing to curb threatening content and hate speech on its platform.

Parler’s host service Amazon followed up on Saturday (9th Jan) by taking the platform offline entirely. Search the website right now, and you’ll find nothing but a 403 error.

With the app going dark almost overnight, Parler chief executive John Matze has lashed out at what he believes to be a coordinated effort of the three vendors to finally oust his platform after years of quiet disdain, and claims he will bring Parler back online before long. ‘Parler is my final stand on the internet. Parler is my home. See you all soon.’

Of course, that prospect depends entirely on finding a new host service to take on Parler and the stain that now comes with the events of last week.

Realistically, it seems Parler is destined to now fall into obscurity, as its predecessor Gab did following Apple’s App Store rejection back in 2016. As for Trump, he’ll no doubt be turning over rocks looking for a new megaphone.

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