“Walk Into My Parler….”

Social Media Icons Displayed On The Screen of A Phone. Image via www.vpnsrus.com

Parler has returned. It is a social media app whose name is inspired by “parley” (Merriam-Webster- n: a conference for discussion of points in dispute). The name, for me, has always brought to mind the Mary Howitt poem The Spider and the Fly. In that poem, a clever spider lures a fly to its death with flattery and promises.

Parler was designed as a free speech venue with few limits, and it became used extensively by Republican pro-Trump extremists. Despite (or perhaps because of) rumors, now being investigated, of the former President being offered a large stake in the company Trump did not actively use the service, but it became populated primarily by his supporters and was used by various groups to coordinate protests and rallies, including the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Already experiencing bad publicity because of the conspiracy theory and hatred which ran unchecked on the service, Parler’s connection to the attempted insurrection inspired companies like Google and Apple to pull Parler’s download privileges from their sites and caused Amazon, which provided server space, to end their contract. Parler sued to force Amazon to reinstate their service but initial indications did not provide much hope for success.

The company attempted was given a short boost of life support from a Russian web hosting site, but that proved to be another public relations disaster and quickly ended. Now it has truly returned, albeit still not found on the popular Google or Apple app download sites. Instead of Amazon or the Russian DDoS-Guard, they are using a California based company called SkySilk to host their traffic.

Are they rebranding, seeking to move toward the stated purpose, pre-Trumpist takeover, of being an open forum seeking all voices?

In a short answer, no.

Former CEO John Matze was fired prior to the relaunch, and what happened behind the scenes is a matter of debate. Matze is claiming that major investor Rebekah Mercer and lesser investors like pundit Dan Bongino ousted him because he wanted to purge QAnon and white supremacists from the app upon relaunch. Bongino is claiming the opposite is true, that Matze wanted to keep them while Bongino’s group wanted them gone.

Parler’s new CEO is Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots and the Convention of States project. His statements, as well as the statements of others associated with the app before and after the attempted coup, strongly suggest Matze’s version of the story is the truth. It appears that Parler is going to attempt to return as a site dedicated to furthering conspiracy theory, irrational fear and hate.

Separate from concerns about the damage facilitated by intentional misinformation, many examples have been provided of users’ personal data being leaked from the service, as it doesn’t provide even the meager controls seen on Facebook and Twitter. Beyond that, indications are the site itself harvests information on users to be provided to third parties. It’s back, but it remains a dangerous spider for those who willingly walk into its web.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.