SAN FRANCISCO – Pearls, the social network that drew millions of Trump supporters before it disappears from the internet, is back online a month after Amazon and other tech giants cut off the company to host calls for violence around the time of the Capitol uprising.
Being iced on by the tech giants turned Parler into a cause celebrity for conservatives who complained about being censored, as well as a test case for openness on the Internet. It was unclear whether the social network, which had positioned itself as a free speech and slightly moderated side, could survive after being blacklisted by the major technology companies.
For several weeks, it seemed like the answer was no. But on Monday, for the first time since January 10, typing parler.com in a web browser returned a page to log in to the social network – a move that had required weeks of work by the small company and which had led to the departure by its CEO.
Parler executives did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.
It was unclear how Parler had figured out how to host his site on computer servers, the core technology that supports any site. Many of the major web hosting companies had previously rejected it. For other services required to run a large site, Parler stood on help from a Russian company who once worked for the Russian government and a company in Seattle that once supported a neo-Nazi place.
Parler’s return seemed to be a victory for small businesses challenging Big Tech’s dominance. The company had tried to make its situation with power in companies like Amazon, which stopped hosting Parlor’s site on its computer servers, and Apple and Google, which removed Parler’s mobile app from their app stores.
Parler had become a hub for right-wing conversations over the past year, as millions of people on the far right had flocked to the platform over what they perceived as censorship of conservative voices from Facebook, Twitter and Google. Much of the content on Parler was benign, but for several months prior to the January 6 Capitol uprising, the site also hosted calls for violence, hate speech and misinformation.
Days after the uprising, Amazon, Apple and Google said they had cut off Pearls because it showed it could not consistently enforce its own rules against positions calling for violence. Apple and Google have said they would allow Parler’s app to return if the company could prove it could effectively politicize its social network.
After Amazon started Parler from its web hosting service, Parler sued it, accusing it of antitrust violations and breaking its contract. A federal judge said last month that Amazon’s contract allowed it to end the service and refused to force the company to continue hosting Parler, which the startup company had requested.
Parler had more than 15 million users when it went offline and was one of the fastest growing apps in the United States. It is largely funded by Rebekah Mercer, one of the Republican Party’s greatest benefactors.
John Matze, Parler’s co-founder and CEO, said earlier this month that Mrs. Mercer had effectively fired him over disagreements over how to run the site. Ms Mercer has hired Mark Meckler, a leading voice in the Tea Party movement, to lead Parler.
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