SAN FRANCISCO – Parler, the social network that attracted millions of Trump supporters before it disappeared from the internet, is a month after Amazon and other tech giants called the company over for calling for violent calls during the time of the Capitol uprising have cut off, back online.
The icing on the cake by the tech giants made Parler a special event for conservatives who complained that they were being censored, as well as a test case for the openness of the internet. It was unclear whether the social network, which positioned itself as a free speech and easily moderated website, could survive after being blacklisted by major tech companies.
For weeks the answer seemed to be no. But on Monday, for the first time since January 10, typing parler.com into a web browser returned a page to log into the social network – a move that had taken the small company to work for weeks and led to its exit had its chairman.
Parler executives did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday.
It was unclear how Parler figured out how to host its website on computer servers, the central technology on which every website is based. Many of the major web hosting companies had previously declined. For other services required to run a large website, Parler relied on the help of a Russian company that once worked for the Russian government and a firm in Seattle that once supported a neo-Nazi site.
Parler’s return seemed like a win for small businesses challenging the dominance of big tech. The company had tried to question the power of companies like Amazon, which are no longer hosting Parler’s website on their computer servers, and Apple and Google, which are removing Parler’s mobile app from their app stores.
Parler had become a hub for right-wing conversation over the past year as millions of right-wing people came to the platform over what they perceived as censoring conservative voices through Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Much of Parler’s content was harmless, but months before the January 6th Capitol uprising, the website also posted calls for violence, hate speech and misinformation.
Days after the uprising, Amazon, Apple and Google said they cut Parler off because it showed it couldn’t consistently enforce its own rules against violent posts. Apple and Google have announced that they will allow Parler’s app to return if the company can demonstrate that it can effectively monitor its social network.
After Amazon Parler booted from its web hosting service, Parler sued him, charged him with antitrust violations, and broke his contract. A federal judge said last month that Amazon’s contract allowed the service to terminate and declined to force the company to continue hosting Parler, as the start-up 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 chief executive officer, said earlier this month that Ms. Mercer had effectively fired him because of a disagreement about running the website. Ms. Mercer has hired Mark Meckler, a leading voice in the tea party movement, to lead Parler.