The free-speech alternative to Twitter called Parler has finally gone down after Amazon said it would be pulling the plug on hosting the controversial platform that houses a wide variety of people from self-taught experts to self-described patriots.
If you are not sure why Parler went down, it comes down to the platform being used to organise the Capitol Hill attack and forcing the hand of tech companies to reconcile with the part they played in all of it. The platform was being used to organise all kinds of terrible things, and the community as a whole leant quite heavily into toxic territory.
Before Amazon pulled the plug on AWS hosting, Apple and Google pulled the Parler app from their respective app stores. Although, Apple and Google did say they would restore the app when Parler moderates its content better (which is at odds with the site’s ethos).
While many argue this is an attack on free speech, people need to be reminded that free speech does not extend to private companies and platforms. And hate speech is not free speech.
It’s a two-way street, consumers have the freedom of choice when it comes to the platforms they signup for, and the platforms have the freedom of choice who is allowed to access these services. You can’t argue for free speech and then argue that companies shouldn’t be afforded the same right.
That doesn’t seem to have deterred Parler from suing Amazon, alleging that they removed the site from AWS for political reasons. The lawsuit is clearly not going to succeed, and it’s just the last dying breath of a platform that has finally met its match.
We can only hope that if Parler returns, it’s not the same amateur slapped together service it was previously. I was shocked to learn Parler was built on top of WordPress. While I love and use WordPress myself, it’s clear that it wasn’t built with security in mind and an easy target for hackers. Somehow, I can’t see Parler making a return any time soon.