Parler, the conservative social media platform, back online

Removed from web hosting services in January, Parler is a favourite of conservatives who decry ‘censorship’.

The website of the social media platform Parler is displayed in Berlin on January 10, 2021 [Christophe Gateau/DPA via AP Photo]

Parler, the social media platform popular among conservatives, is back online and ready to take on “big tech”, the company announced on Monday.

The platform was de-hosted by Amazon in January after the January 6 Capitol riot that attempted to keep former President Donald Trump in power. Users were seen planning and celebrating the riot on Parler.

Amazon defended the move, citing calls to violence. Apple and Google also removed the app from its app stores.

“Parler, the world’s #1 free speech social media platform with over 20 million users, is announcing its official relaunch today, built on sustainable, independent technology and not reliant on so-called ‘Big Tech’ for its operations”, the announcement said.

“When Parler was taken offline in January by those who desire to silence tens of millions of Americans, our team came together, determined to keep our promise to our highly engaged community that we would return stronger than ever,” Mark Meckler, Interim CEO at Parler, said in the announcement.

Meckler, a founder of the Tea Party Patriots movement that attempted to push the Republican Party further to the right after former President Barack Obama’s 2008 win, was installed as the interim CEO for the relaunch.

The previous CEO, John Matze, was fired by the company’s board on January 29, according to Fox News.

Existing users will be able to use the site, while those who want to create a new account will have to wait one week.

Conservative lawmakers have used Parler’s deplatforming and Trump’s permanent Twitter ban after the riot as a call-to-arms against Silicon Valley giants like Twitter and Facebook and their “censorship” of conservative voices.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a news conference in early February “these platforms have changed from neutral platforms that provide Americans with the freedom to speak to enforcers of preferred narratives.”

Florida Republicans announced they will seek to force social media companies to inform users of actions taken against them, the choice to opt-out of algorithms that choose certain content, and empower the state attorney general to take action against companies that violate state law.

DeSantis announced he will support these efforts.

A screengrab of website and former Parler CEO John Matze’s message on January 16, 2021, reading ‘Hello world, is this thing on?’, seen in this picture obtained on January 17, 2021, from social media [File: Screenshot via Reuters]

“Under our proposal, if a technology company deplatforms a candidate for elected office in Florida during an election, the company will face a daily fine of $100,000 until the candidate’s access to the platform is restored”, DeSantis said.

Source: Al Jazeera