Parler is coming back. On Monday, the social networking site — which has positioned itself as a free speech safe haven for those disenchanted with Twitter and Facebook’s moderation policies — announced its website will be running again starting this week.
According to a press release from the company, the site is now “built on sustainable, independent technology and not reliant on so-called ‘Big Tech’ for its operations.” Parler’s announcement came a month after Amazon cut its web hosting services, which pushed Parler offline, and both Apple and Google kicked Parler off their app stores. All three companies made their decisions after concluding the app had been used by some Trump supporters to plan the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, with Amazon saying it cut ties with Parler because it “poses a very real risk to public safety.”
Parler did not mention which hosting company it had struck a deal with and did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment. Parler’s announcement said the site is “available immediately,” but if you go to the site’s homepage on Monday morning, it still hits visitors with a “technical difficulties” notification. The company’s announcement said the site would be back online for existing users in its first week and available to new users starting the following week. Overall, Parler said it has more than 20 million users.
“Parler was built to offer a social media platform that protects free speech and values privacy and civil discourse. When Parler was taken offline in January by those who desire to silence tens of millions of Americans, our team came together, determined to keep our promise to our highly engaged community that we would return stronger than ever. We’re thrilled to welcome everyone back,” interim CEO Mark Meckler said in a statement. “Parler is being run by an experienced team and is here to stay. We will thrive as the premier social media platform dedicated to free speech, privacy and civil dialogue.”
Monday’s announcement came after a rocky month for Parler. Not only has the website struggled to stay online, but 27-year-old cofounder and former CEO John Matze was recently fired by the company’s board. Matze told The New York Times he wasn’t given a reason for his termination, but one potential explanation is that he wanted to approach the company’s recent issues differently than Rebekah Mercer, the Republican political donor who has financially backed Parler.
Matze said he was willing to crack down more on QAnon supporters, white supremacists and domestic terrorists if it meant getting the app back online and on the two major app stores. “I got dead silence as a response, and I took that dead silence as disagreement,” Matze said.
Parler, in response to Matze, said his framing of the story was “inaccurate and misleading.”
Before his exit, Matze claimed Amazon severed ties with Parler “in part” because a company rep knew then-President Donald Trump was considering joining the app under the pseudonym “Person X.” Parler had been gaining steam up until Amazon, Apple and Google’s decisions to block it, with the app ranking at the top of Apple’s App Store in January, following Twitter’s decision to ban Trump.
Looking ahead, it’s unclear if Parler will also return to Apple or Google’s app stores in the near future. Apple has said it will allow Parler on the App Store only if it starts censoring more content.
Parler also said in its Monday announcement that the company is currently searching for a permanent CEO to replace Matze.