President Trump was kicked off most major social media platforms after his supporters besieged the U.S. Capitol. However, it remains to be seen how quickly or where – if at all – on the Internet he can reach his followers.
The far-right Parler was the top candidate, at least until Google and Apple removed it from their app stores and Amazon launched it from its web hosting service shortly after midnight Pacific time on Monday.
Parler was unavailable on the internet as of 4:30 a.m. EST.
Parler CEO said it could go offline for a week, however, that could prove optimistic. And even if it does find a friendlier web hosting service without a smartphone app, it’s hard to imagine Parler having mainstream success.
The 2-year-old magnet for the far-right party claims more than 12 million users, although mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower puts the number at 10 million worldwide, including 8 million in the US. That’s a fraction of the 89 million followers Mr. Trump had on Twitter.
Still, Parler could be attractive to Mr. Trump, as his sons Eric and Don Jr. are already active there.
Parler encountered headwinds on Friday when Google tore its smartphone app from the App Store to allow postings intended to “trigger ongoing violence in the US”. Apple followed on Saturday night after Parler had 24 hours to process complaints that “planned and facilitated further illegal and dangerous activities.” Public safety issues need to be resolved before they can be restored, Apple said.
Amazon struck again on Saturday and informed Parler that they would have to look for a new web hosting service from midnight on Sunday. In a letter first reported by Buzzfeed, he reminded Parler that in the past few weeks he had been informed of 98 examples of posts “that clearly encourage and incite violence” and that the platform “posed a very real risk for public safety represents “.
Parler CEO John Matze described the punishment as a “coordinated attack by tech giants to kill competition in the marketplace.” We were too successful too quickly, “he said in a post on Saturday night, adding it was possible Parler would not be available for up to a week” as we build from scratch.
“Every provider, from SMS services to e-mail providers to our lawyers, drove us into the abyss on the same day,” said Matze on Sunday in Fox New Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures. He said that while the company is trying to get back online as soon as possible, it is “having big problems because every vendor we speak to says they will not work with us because if Apple disagrees and Google does so.” does not. ” I won’t approve, they won’t. “
The loss of access to the app stores from Google and Apple, whose operating systems power hundreds of millions of smartphones, severely limits Parler’s range, although access was still possible via a web browser. The loss of Amazon Web Services means Parler will have to look for another web host in addition to re-engineering.
Meanwhile, Gab.com, another far-right website widespread, appears to have benefited from Parler’s problems. Gab tweeted early Monday that it “has gained more users in the last 2 days than in the first two years of our existence”.
While Twitter and Facebook initially argued that they need to be language neutral, they gradually gave in to public pressure and drawn the line, particularly when the so-called planemy video emerged at the start of the coronavirus pandemic urging people not to put on masks Ethan Zuckerman, professor of civic media at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, noted.
Zuckerman believes Trump’s de-platforming could trigger major online shifts. Including a possible accelerated fragmentation of the social media world from an ideological point of view.
“Trump will attract a lot of audiences everywhere,” he said. That could mean more platforms with smaller, ideologically isolated target groups.
Mr. Trump can also start his own platform. But that won’t happen overnight, and free speech experts anticipate growing pressure on all social media platforms to curb incendiary speech as Americans take stock of the violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a Trump-instigated mob on Wednesday .