Parler Yet to Return As Free Speech Platform Searches for Hosting Services
Parler is yet to return to the internet after a coordinated deplatforming effort on the part of Big Tech earlier this month, with a prediction from the platform’s CEO that Parler would be back online by the end of January seeming unlikely.
After Parler was promptly deplatformed by Amazon Web Services after the US Capitol riot, the services’ administrators sued the company, pointing to the termination of Parler’s web services as a violation of the company’s contract with Amazon. Litigation against the monopoly has proved unsuccessful so far, with a judge declining to issue a preliminary injunction requiring Amazon to reinstate hosting services and provide 30-day advance notice before shutting off access.
Parler’s URL is online, but only with a few messages from CEO John Matze and investors associated with the free speech platform. Parler’s team has repeatedly emphasized that they plan to return to functionality after initially questioning whether they could.
Free speech platform Gab remains online and functional, with the Parler competitor’s administrators scaling their server and hosting capabilities in recent weeks to accommodate an influx of users seeking to speak freely, having been rebuffed by Twitter’s censorious practices and Parler’s deplatforming.
All of Gab’s server infrastructure is internally owned and operated. This immunizes the free speech company to Big Tech’s cancellation tactics, providing them no means to shut off their platform.
Merely signing up for another web hosting service isn’t going to be a long term solution. Even if Parler contracts hosting services overseas- in Eastern Europe or Russia, for example- they still face vulnerability to deplatforming tactics. Joe Biden’s State Department can potentially browbeat the governments of nations where Parler would seek hosting to shut it down, threatening sanctions that even nations chilly towards American influence don’t want to deal with.
Matze had previously suggested Parler would seek to return to the internet through contracting hosting with another third party. Internet free speech advocates may be left questioning the wisdom of such a tenuous arrangement after Parler’s initial deplatforming, and Parler would be wise to consider an internal server model similar to that of Gab. If not, conservatives, nationalists, and pro-free speech dissidents may have no choice but to conclude the service is permanently on the thin ice of Big Tech’s rigged arena.