Parler spurns AWS, partnering SkySilk for cloud comeback

Parler spurns AWS, partnering SkySilk for cloud comeback

17 February 2021 | Natalie Bannerman

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Parler, the social network popular with right-wing supporters, has made its online comeback after being dropped by Amazon Web Services (AWS).

The company has been in the headlines as of late, after it came to light that Its platform, among others, was used to help coordinate the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January.

The ban came from the likes of Apple and Google which dropped the social networking app from its respective app stores, but the biggest blow came from Amazon, which also dropped it from its AWS cloud service.

Between now and then Parler came back online as a static webpage only, rumoured to working with DDoS-Guard, a Russian company offering cybersecurity services and web hosting. Capacity reported on the potential security implications of this earlier this month, but it seems its operations are once again back on US soil.

According to reports, the company has selected new host is SkySilk, a LA-based cloud hosting provider, and reseller of OVHcloud.

In a Tweeted statement, its CEO, Kevin Matossian, said: “…SkySilk does not advocate nor condone hate, rather, it advocates the right to private judgement and rejects the role of being the judge, jury and executioner ….”

The company and Matossian himself have received a fair amount of backlash once the news broke, prompting him to Tweet a message from his personal account where he refutes any claims that he is endorses the content that exists on Parler, adding: “There are two issue here. 1) Big tech has too much power and control over our lives; and 2) taking away someone’s platform only creates bigger divides.”

Though back online in web form only, users have had all of their old posts and content removed, essentially starting from scratch and a possible repercussion of the abrupt AWS exit last month.

It also appears that new community guidelines are now in place, stating that Parler "will not knowingly allow itself to be used as a tool for crime, civil torts, or other unlawful acts". But it hastens to add that: "In no case will Parler decide what [content will] be removed or filtered, or whose account will be removed, on the basis of the opinion expressed within the content at issue".

In an emailed statement, Parler confirmed that it is now using “sustainable, independent technology and not reliant on so-called ‘Big Tech’ for its operations.” 

Included in the company’s statement on Monday 15th February, its new interim CEO Mark Meckler was quoted as saying: “Parler was built to offer a social media platform that protects free speech and values privacy and civil discourse." 

“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. We're thrilled to welcome everyone back. 

“Parler is being run by an experienced team and is here to stay. We will thrive as the premier social media platform dedicated to free speech, privacy, and civil dialogue,” he added.

Meckler temporarily replaces former CEO and co-founder Mark Matze, who was fired earlier this month – until a permanent CEO can be found. Matze was reportedly ousted from his role by Republican political donor and majority Parler shareholder, Rebekah Mercer.

In a television interview, Matze claims to have been betrayed by Mercer while attempting to curb QAnon and white supremacists from using the app.

'I feel like it was a stab in the back by somebody that I thought I knew. And so for me, you know, I would never do business with her again,' Matze said of Mercer. 

'I thought I knew her. She invited my family on trips with them and everything. I thought that she was, generally speaking, I thought she was being real. And then she just abruptly has her people fire me and doesn't even talk to me about it.' 

Matze’s interim successor Meckler is a Californian attorney and co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots (TPP), a conservative organisation advocating for free markets, limited government and financial responsibility.

Historically this group it has been strongly opposed to things such as Obamacare and according to TechCruch, were behind the America’s Frontline Doctors event and was one of the organizers of the March to Save America that turned into the Capitol Riots. He has since founded Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG), a non- profit conservative political group.

At present, Parler still remains banned from the Google Play Store and iOS App Store, meaning its mobile app is still non-operational.