Parler is back online - kind of

Parler
(Image credit: Parler)
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Controversial social media service Parler (opens in new tab) is back online days after going dark thanks to a yet-to-be-identified web hosting service.

The company's website reappeared online on Sunday afternoon, featuring a message from CEO John Matze which read, "Hello world, is this thing on?" However its Android and iOS mobile apps are still offline.

Parler had gone offline last week after Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced it would be pulling the plug on Parler (opens in new tab) over apparent insufficiencies in the platform’s content moderation policies.

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Parler return

Investigation by TechRadar Pro using a popular traceroute service showed that Parler's data was being routed through Finland and France using Telia-owned network twelve99 (opens in new tab)

However the final location of the data, and henceforth the hosting provider, is still unknown. TechRadar Pro has contacted Telia for comment.

According to infrastructure expert Ronald Guilmette, speaking to Reuters (opens in new tab), Parler's new IP addresss is owned by Russian-controlled firm DDos-Guard.

CNN (opens in new tab) reported that a WHOIS search reveals Parler's domain to now be registered with Washington-based domain registrar and hosting firm Epik.

Epik is already notorious for being the domain registrar for several far-right and extremist content groups and services, including alternative social network Gab, and formerly working with infamous online imageboard, 8chan. 

However the company has released a statement (opens in new tab) stating that it had had, "no contact or discussions with Parler in any form regarding our becoming their registrar or hosting provider."

For the time being, it is not clear who is providing Parler with web hosting services following AWS' retreat.

Before dropping offline, Parler was also removed (opens in new tab) from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store, the two largest app marketplaces in the world, over threatening and violent content that remained live on the platform.

Marketed as the “free speech” social network, Parler is renowned for its laissez-faire attitude to content moderation and has long resisted any form of user surveillance.

For this reason, it was clear favorite to become the platform of choice for disgraced US President Donald Trump after he was banned from Twitter and Facebook last week, and even topped the App Store download charts for a brief period in the aftermath.

Although concerns had already been expressed that alt-right groups were using the platforms to organize rallies and spread misinformation, the widespread boycott was triggered by the storming of the US Capitol Building, which was said to have been organized in part over Parler.

Parler has since launched a lawsuit against AWS over alleged violations of antitrust law and breaches of the contractual agreement between the pair. Amazon, for its part, claims that threatening content hosted on Parler amounted to a breach of contract, justifying the shutdown.

Via CNN (opens in new tab)

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.