Parler CEO says site may never come back online

Parler CEO John Matze told Reuters on Wednesday that the social networking site may never come back online, due to extensive blacklisting by tech companies. Parler has been shut down since early morning on Monday after Amazon Web Services terminated their hosting agreement with the company.

Users of Parler were encouraged on Tuesday when the company announced that it had signed up for hosting with Epik; however, a subsequently-released statement from Epik indicated that Epik had not actually agreed to host the platform, and seemed to indicate that Parler had simply signed up for domain registration services like any other company is allowed to do.

When asked by Reuters on Wednesday when users might expect the site to return to operation, Matze responded, "It could be never. We don't know yet."

"It's hard to keep track of how many people are telling us that we can no longer do business with them," Matze continued.

Matze stated that the ideal solution would be for Parler to return to Amazon. Parler has filed suit against Amazon, and is seeking a judicial order requiring AWS to resume hosting services. Amazon has stated that the lawsuit has no merit and that it plans to aggressively contest the suit.

Beyond being removed from AWS's hosting service and removed from the Apple and Google Play stores, Matze revealed that Parler has seen their contracts with numerous other essential providers terminated in the wake of the violent demonstrations in Washington, D.C., on January 6th. According to Matze, Parler can no longer process payments with Stripe or American Express, has had its Scylla Enterprise database taken offline, and has even had its employees and volunteers kicked off Slack, preventing them from communicating with each other.

Earlier Wednesday, Matze stated that he had also been the recipient of numerous death threats since the events of January 6th, and that many of his employees had requested time off work because of fears for their safety.

Big tech companies have cut ties with Parler over allegations that the platform did not do enough to curtail posts that encouraged or incited violence, or that enabled individuals who were plotting violent acts to coordinate their activities. Parler has stated, in its defense, that it does have policies that prohibit such posts, but that the rapid growth of the site has made it difficult for its existing staff to police.

In an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday, Matze claimed that Parler was given "no warning" of the possibility of this action; however, documents filed by Amazon in response to Parler's lawsuit appear to show multiple communications from AWS to Parler warning them that if posts calling for violence were not removed, they faced termination of their hosting agreement. A spokesperson for Google also claimed that the company repeatedly warned Parler executives throughout 2020 that failure to moderate the platform could lead to being removed from the Google Play store.

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