Parler’s Website Back Online, CEO Says “Free Speech is Essential, Especially on Social Media”

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 18, 2021   |   11:27AM   |   Washington, DC

The conservative social media platform Parler is back online after Amazon dropped it as a customer and promoted it to file a lawsuit. Parler is not usable as a Twitter alternative yet, but the CEO of the company left a message on the home page encouraging former users of the service and saying it will continue to fight censorship and that he hopes it will be functional again “soon.”

Millions of pro-life conservatives moved to the social media network following the decision by Facebook, Twitter and other social media giants to ban President Donald Trump and censor pro-life conservatives. But Apple and Google both banned Parler from their stores and Amazon dropped Parler as a customer, shutting down its servers. Parler had been purchasing server space from Amazon and the web site is now down completely after Amazon summarily dumped them because it allows free speech to flourish even if it supports President Trump and concerns over election fraud.

“Hello world, is this thing on?” Parler CEO John Matze said in a message.

“Now seems like the right time to remind you all—both lovers and haters—why we started this platform,” Matze wrote. “We believe privacy is paramount and free speech essential, especially on social media. Our aim has always been to provide a nonpartisan public square where individuals can enjoy and exercise their rights to both. We will resolve any challenge before us and plan to welcome all of you back soon. We will not let civil discourse perish!”

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The message is hopeful if only because it suggests that Parler may have found another service provider for its servers after Amazon dropped it. Millions of conservative Americans flocked to the web site in the wake of Twitter’s censorship and even though Apple and Google banned its app from their stores, pro-life conservatives would likely rush back to Parler if its platform can be fully restored and functional.

Parler has since filed a lawsuit against Amazon and it told a court that Amazon only shut down its servers to stop President Donald Trump from joining the platform.

Here’s more:

Parler attorney David Groesbeck argued Thursday in court that the conservative-lean learning site would have been a logical place for the president to go since he was unable to access his Twitter account, according to Politico.

“I believe AWS’s decision to terminate service to Parler was based, not on expressed concerns about Parler’s compliance with the AWS Agreement, but in part on a desire to deny President Trump a platform on any large social-media service,” Parler CEO John Matze said. 

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Groesbeck also in Thursday’s hearing that Parler was not involved in the riot on Capitol Hill and urged Judge Barbara J. Rothstein to order Amazon Web Services to host the platform.

“AWS is alleging without evidence that Parler was used to incite the riots,” he said. “There is no evidence other than some anecdotal press references that Parler was involved … . Millions of Americans have had their voices silenced by AWS.”

The 18-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle, where Amazon is headquartered, accuses Amazon Web Services (AWS) of applying a politically motivated double standard to Parler in contrast to its treatment of the more mainstream social media giant Twitter.

“AWS’s decision to effectively terminate Parler’s account is apparently motivated by political animus,” the lawsuit reads. “It is also apparently designed to reduce competition in the microblogging services market to the benefit of Twitter.”

“Up until Friday afternoon it seemed Apple, Amazon and Google agreed’ the app had been effective in their efforts to remove ‘objectionable content,” it said, adding: “You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don’t count us out.”

Parler CEO John Matze initially said Parler might be unavailable for “up to a week as we rebuild from scratch,” but now says it might be offline for longer.

Apple warned Parler’s owners Friday that the app would be removed if they didn’t make major policy changes — mainly limits on free speech that Parler owners considered too onerous.

“There is no place on our platform for threats of violence and illegal activity,” Apple said in a statement to NBC News. “Parler has not taken adequate measures to address the proliferation of these threats to people’s safety.”

Apple and Google’s decisions to ban Parler from its stores did not shut down Parler but that happened when Amazon took down it servers.

Parler CEO John Matze said on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that the Big tech companies had colluded “to make sure that at the same time we would lose access to not only our apps, but they’re shutting all of our servers off tonight, off the Internet.”

He said the companies falsely claim Parler is responsible for the Capitol riots on January 6, even though the companies took no action against any social media platforms last year as Antifa and BLM rioted across the nation.

“They made an attempt to not only kill the apps but to actually destroy the entire company. But it’s not just these three companies; every vendor, from text message services to email providers to our lawyers all ditched us too, on the same day, and they’re trying to falsely claim that we were somehow responsible for the events on [Jan.] 6.”

Matze indicated Parler is considering legal action against the Big tech firms once it obtains new legal counsel.

He also said Parler was in no way organizing any violence or rioting and noted that similar discussions were taking place on Twitter.

Parler is working to get back online “as quickly as possible, but we’re having a lot of trouble, because every vendor we talk to won’t work with us, because if Apple doesn’t approve and Google doesn’t approve, they won’t,” Matze said on Fox. He added that it will be incredibly difficult to get all of the user data moved from its Amazon servers to a new one.

Parler was the number one app on Google at the time the company banned Parler.

Matze said the actions taken against Parler “would put anybody out of business.”

“They could destroy anybody. If they did any app, any company, it would completely destroy them,” he added. “I totally see the danger here. What they’re doing, and the amount of the power they have, is not just frightening, it’s actually extremely scary.”