Parler, the controversial social media platform conservative pundits fled to over the past year, is back online—barely.
The Twitter-like service all but got destroyed a little over a week ago, following the attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. In the days after the attack, Parler, where many of the insurrectionists posted videos of the attack, was kicked off the Google Play Store and then the Apple App Store—effectively preventing any new downloads of the app. A day after that, Amazon booted Parler from its AWS servers, which meant even those who had downloaded the app couldn’t use it anymore.
Since then, Parler’s app and website had remained offline as the company scrambled to look for a new provider that was willing to support it. But as of yesterday, it seems to have found said support, Reuters reports. However, in an ironic twist, Parler, which likens itself as a bastion of free speech, has had to rely on the Russian-owned tech firm DDoS-Guard for its new internet protocol address–the series of numbers representing the address of where an URL is supposed to be directed to.
Reuters says the firm “has worked with other racist, rightist and conspiracy sites that have been used by mass murderers to share messages.” It has also supported sites like 8kun and those owned by the Russian government. Needless to say, the Russian government is a purveyor of misinformation in America, and the country is hardly a bastion of free speech. Critics have also pointed out that Parler’s new IP host could be a potential security risk for the self-styled American patriots who populate the service.
Yet those patriots are unable to actually use Parler again as of the time of this writing. While the DDoS-Guard-provided internet protocol address has allowed Parler’s website to go live again, so far the website is made up of a single page titled “Technical Difficulties.” And even if the website does expand to provide an online social media platform once again, it doesn’t mean Parler’s old Android and iOS apps will suddenly begin working again. They would presumably need to be updated to work with a new hosting service, but that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon as Google and Apple have said Parler will need to address the moderation concerns that got the app booted in the first place before the app or any updates will be allowed in their stores.
When reached for comment, DDoS-Guard provided a prepared statement that said at this time Parler does not violate the company’s terms of service. The company also said it does not endorse any extremist or illegal activities, nor does it support any political movement. It also says that Parler is not using its hosting service.
Update: This post has been updated to include comments from DDoS-Guard. We’ve reached out to Parler, too, and will update this post again if we hear back.