Social network Parler has partially returned with the help of a Russian-owned technology company, Reuters reported. The website and app were forced offline last week when host Amazon Web Services (AWS) suspended access.
Popular among right-wing extremists, Parler (not to be confused with “social talking app” Parlor) was also removed from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store following Donald Trump’s recent ban from most major social media platforms. In response to the AWS suspension, Parler CEO John Matze told users the network would be offline for up to a week as the application is “rebuilt from scratch.” “We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business,” he wrote in a tweeted statement.
The social network appears to have found that provider in DDos-Guard, an internet infrastructure services provider known for working with companies hosting controversial content, including 8kun (previously 8chan); it also supports Russian government sites, according to Reuters. DDoS-Guard’s web page lists an address in Scotland, under the title Cognitive Cloud LP. But, as infrastructure expert Ronald Guilmette told the news outlet, it’s actually owned by two men in Rostov-on-Don, Russia.
“Hello world, is this thing on?” Matze wrote on Friday, in the first update since the site relaunched. A note at the top of the page promises Parler will “resolve any challenge before us” and hopes to welcome users back “soon”—as early as February, if Matze has his way.
“I’m confident that by the end of the month, we’ll be back up,” the CEO told Fox News over the weekend. “Every day it changes wildly, but I feel confident now. We’re making significant progress.”
Conservative commentator and Parler investor Dan Bongino returned to the social network on Monday, promising that “We will NEVER stop fighting. NEVER. This fight is bigger than me, and it’s bigger than Parler. If they’re allowed to silence us, they can silence anyone. It stops now. Please stand with us in this fight for liberty, truth, and freedom.”
The company’s chief policy officer, Amy Peikoff, also took to the site on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, quoting the civil rights leader and suggesting that “this be the year that all of us, regardless of political belief, become extremists for freedom of expression and privacy.”
“Our return is inevitable due to hard work, and persistence against all odds,” Matze added. “Despite the threats and harassment not one Parler employee has quit. We are becoming closer and stronger as a team.”