Parler announces re-launch, new CEO

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Social network Parler, which was forced offline following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, says it is re-launching.

The Twitter alternative has been struggling to return online since Amazon stripped it of web-hosting service on Jan. 11 over its unwillingness to remove posts inciting violence. Google and Apple removed Parler’s app from their online stores for the same reason.

Parler said in an emailed statement Monday that it would be led by an interim CEO, Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots movement. It said the service would be brought back online for current users this week with new users being able to sign up next week — and would not be reliant on “Big Tech.”

The site’s homepage, however, was a single, static page whose lead post reminded viewers of “technical difficulties.” While it was possible to log in via a different variation of that URL, Parler’s iPhone app did not work, yielding a “networking error” when an Associated Press reporter tried it. Among new posters was Fox News personality Sean Hannity.

Guidelines accessible on the site, dated Feb. 14, said Parler would use technology and human review to remove “threatening or inciting content.” They said a “community jury” headed by a Parler employee would hear appeals.

Parler was being hosted by a Los Angeles cloud services company, SkySilk. Ron Guilmette, a California-based internet researcher and activist, said SkySilk appeared to be a small outfit and that it was not clear to him whether it could provide adequate security for the site. In particular, Guilmette cited the need for robust defense against denial-of-service attacks, which flood a site with data traffic to make it inaccessible. Such attacks are a threat to any major internet site — especially if their content is at all controversial.

SkySilk did not respond to questions about the level of support the company is providing.

Its CEO, Kevin Matossian, said in a statement that the company “does not advocate nor condone hate, rather it advocates the right to private judgment and rejects the role of being the judge, jury and executioner. Unfortunately, too many of our fellow technology providers seem to differ in their position on this subject.”