Parler Goes Dark But Archivists Have Saved Its Potentially Incriminating Data, Including Deleted Posts
This comes as Amazon pulls the plug on Parler's web hosting services, effectively deplatforming the fringe social media site.
Parler has gone dark but that doesn’t mean all the potentially incriminating content once shared on the platform has disappeared, too. In fact, archivists claim they were in a race to save all of Parler’s public data and content before Amazon pulled the plug on the fringe social media platform’s web hosting services just after midnight Monday.
The data archived includes user information, including which users had admin rights to groups, and user profiles, including from Parler’s “Verified User” program, which allowed users to verify their identity by uploading pictures of government-issued IDs, Cyber News reported.
The security researchers working to archive the website also rushed to scrape videos and posts uploaded to Parler, including deleted ones, which archivists say is thanks to Parler’s poorly coded algorithm, Mashable reported.
The archivist behind the effort, known as @donk_enby on Twitter, likened her online push to save the data as “a bunch of people running into a burning building trying to grab as many things as we can."
She also said that the data archived is only what users made publicly available, and would not include “e-mail address, phone or credit card number,” she said in a Tweet. “Unless you posted it yourself.”
Parler has also responding to the deplatforming by Amazon, with a lawsuit against the tech giant claiming the move is “motivated by political animus,” it said in the filing.
The filing also went on to allege an anti-trust violation and a breach of contract, claiming that Amazon Web Services was required to give Parler a 30-day notice before terminating its services. Parler also alleged that Amazon is interfering with its business, saying that deplatforming “will kill Parler’s business—at the very time it is set to skyrocket,” the filing stated.
Parler went on to say that it is being discriminated against because they were in direct competition with Twitter, which suspended Donald Trump’s account indefinitely days before. “Conservative users began to flee Twitter en masse for Parler,” the lawsuit claimed.
While the tech company has not filed court papers in response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson with Amazon Web Services told Inside Edition Digital Wednesday, "AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow. However, it is clear that there is significant content on Parler that encourages and incites violence against others, and that Parler is unable or unwilling to promptly identify and remove this content, which is a violation of our terms of service."
Ahead of their termination of Parler’s cloud services, Amazon said they identified at least 98 posts in the past few weeks that incites violence, Buzzfeed News reported.
Amazon is just one of many tech giants to take a stance against the Twitter-esque platform favored by the alt-right following the assault on the U.S. Capitol. Apple has removed Parler from their app stores, saying “we have always supported diverse points of view being represented on the App Store, but there is not place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity.”
Google also removed Parler from its app store, saying it features posts “inciting violence,” according to Axios.
“I believe Amazon, Google, Apple worked together to try and ensure they don’t have competition,” Parler CEO John Matze said on Parler after Amazon’s announcement that Parler would be deplatformed, according to The New York Times. “They will NOT win! We are the world's last hope for free speech and free information.”
Amazon Web Services, however, insisted that deplatforming had nothing to do with removing free speech from the internet, and the move was intended to put an end to content that incites violence.
Additionally, Twitter has banned Trump’s account following the storming of the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, while Facebook has suspended Trump’s account indefinitely and also announced Monday that is has begun a crackdown against posts that reference “stop the steal,” a phrase which Trump and his supporters have used when fraudulently alleging voter fraud.
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