If you’re trying to use Parler and notice that the app isn’t working, this is likely due to a shutdown by Amazon’s web servers. Amazon notified Parler that it would be booted from its AWS cloud servers at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on Sunday night, January 10. Unless Parler is able to find a new host before that time, the app was expected to go offline. However, the Parler CEO asked users to return on Tuesday when the app will likely be back online.
Parler Was Warned That It Would Be Booted from Amazon at 11:59 PM Pacific on Sunday
On Saturday, January 9, Amazon sent Parler a warning that it was going to be booted from its cloud services for failing to get a handle on posts encouraging violent acts. This means that until the app finds a new host, it will be completely offline and will not work.
Amazon Web Services sent an email to Parler’s Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff about the app violating its terms of service and the upcoming suspension. According to CNBC, the letter read, in part: “AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site. However, we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others. Because Parler cannot comply with our terms of service and poses a very real risk to public safety, we plan to suspend Parler’s account effective Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59PM PST.”
According to The New York Times, Amazon sent Parler 98 examples of posts encouraging violence, and many were still active. The New York Times reported that a letter from Amazon to Parler noted: “It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with [the rules]… We continue to respect Parler’s right to determine for itself what content it will allow on its site. However, we cannot provide services to a customer that is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others.”
Google booted Parler from its web store, and Apple gave Parler 24 hours to remove violent content and then removed it from the Apple store too.
Parler CEO Said They Might Be Back by Monday, But Then Said It Would Likely Be Longer
Once the app is booted from Amazon and no longer works, it’s not clear exactly how long it will remain offline. It all depends on how long it takes to move the app to a new host. John Matze, CEO of Parler, has shared different timelines for when the app might return. Initially, he let Parler users know on Saturday that it might take as long as a week to get the app running again.
Sunday (tomorrow) at midnight Amazon will be shutting off all of our servers in an attempt to completely remove free speech off the internet. There is the possibility Parler will be unavailable on the internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch. We prepared for events like this by never relying on amazons proprietary infrastructure and building bare metal products. We will try our best to move to a new provider right now as we have many competing for our business, however Amazon, Google and Apple purposefully did this as a coordinated effort knowing our options would be limited and knowing this would inflict the most damage right as President Trump was banned from the tech companies. This was a coordinated attack by the tech giants to kill competition in the market place. We were too successful too fast. You can expect the war on competition and free speech to continue, but don’t count us out.”
But later on Saturday night, he emphasized that they would need to be back sooner than that and estimated being functional again Monday at noon and having everyone back by Tuesday.
He wrote: “Our mission is free speech, democracy and us the people having the power. The elite don’t want us to be free, they want hate division and power! For us to win this fight we need everyone back on Parler Tuesday. By Monday at noon we will be fully operational again.”
Then later he shared more details on how users could return to Parler, and how this would likely be an option as soon as Tuesday.
He said that by Tuesday, users should go to Parler.com, use already installed versions of Parler, or “use the side loaded version of Android.” They should also check their email and spam for messages from Parler. He wrote: “We should be operational with less then 12 hours of downtime after Amazon abruptly pulls our access. This is unprecedented.”
However, in an interview on Sunday, he indicated it might take longer than that to get online, Deadline reported. He said that text message services, email providers, and lawyers had “ditched us too on the same day.” He added: “We’re going to try our best to get back online as quickly as possible. But we’re having a lot of trouble because every vendor we talk to says they won’t work with us. Because if Apple doesn’t approve and Google doesn’t approve, they won’t.”
Then later on Sunday night, only a few hours before the shutdown, Matze posted on Parler that it could be much longer before the site is back.
Matze wrote that the app could be down much longer than anticipated and he would not be starting an account on any other social network. The message was posted just before 2 a.m. Eastern on Monday morning.
I wanted to send everyone on Parler an update. We will likely be down longer than expected. This is not due to software restrictions—we have our software and everyone’s data ready to go. Rather it’s that Amazon’s, Google’s and Apple’s statements to the press about dropping our access has caused most of our other vendors to drop their support for us as well. And most people with enough servers to host us have shut their doors to us. We will update everyone and update the press when we are back online.
Parler is my final stand on the Internet. I won’t be making an account on any social. Parler is my home. See you all soon 👋
On January 10, Matze and Parler shared a press release about the situation. Matze said in his statement that he did not condone violence on the platform. He wrote:
I founded Parler to be a place of open dialogue and discussion where we could work to move past the anger and hostility that seems to be consuming our otherwise civil society. Parler strives to bring people together and find common ground, peace and healing. We do not condone or accept violence on our platform and we never will.
Our team worked hard to produce a strong set of Community Guidelines, which expressly forbids content which incites or threatens violence, or other activity which breaks the law. We’ve worked even harder to construct a system which engages our community to quickly and transparently enforce these rules and remove prohibited content.
It hasn’t been easy. Parler does not engage in viewpoint discrimination, nor do we harvest and abuse personal data. Parler is not a surveillance app, so we can’t just write a few algorithms that will quickly locate 100% of objectionable content, especially during periods of rapid growth and the seemingly coordinated malicious attacks that accompany that growth. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t been effective. Up until Friday afternoon, it seemed that Apple, Amazon, and Google agreed.
Evaluated objectively, our system worked as well or better than the methods used by our competitors, while adhering to our principles. And we are working to improve it every day. We invite those with concerns to join our community and see our system in action. And we welcome your feedback. It is important to all of us at Parler that we get it right. We care deeply and are committed to being part of the long-term solution to save civil discourse.