Parler, which emerged as a Twitter alternative for conservatives, officially went offline on Monday after Amazon Web Services refused to host the site any longer. Following the Capitol riots on Wednesday, Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores, claiming the site had refused to take down posts inciting violence. On Saturday, Amazon announced it would follow suit after employees pressured the company to remove Parler.
Parler saved its data and prepared to switch to a different provider, but on Monday, Parler CEO John Matze announced the process would take longer than expected.
“I wanted to send everyone on Parler an update,” Matze posted. “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,” Matze added. “We will update everyone and update the press when we are back online.”
“Parler is my final stand on the internet,” the CEO concluded. “I won’t be making an account on any social. Parler is my home.”
He says other companies with enough server space to host the site have also “shut their doors.”
Matze posted abt 20 min ago👇 pic.twitter.com/dcuhyG07HR
— Scott Rodd (@SRodd_CPR) January 11, 2021
When conservatives complained about Twitter and Facebook throttling conservative speech, leftists encouraged those on the Right to develop their own social media platforms. Yet when conservatives started flocking to Twitter, the established Big Tech companies colluded to destroy this alternative.
Some posts on Parler reportedly encouraged violence before the Capitol riots, but posts on Facebook and Twitter encouraged violence against the police before and during the Black Lives Matter riots over the summer.
Big Tech did not remove House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s accounts when she called for “uprisings” against the Trump administration. Facebook and Twitter did not target Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she claimed that allegedly marginalized groups have “no choice but to riot.” These platforms did not act against Kamala Harris when she said the riots “should not” stop.
On Thursday, Joe Biden condemned the Capitol rioters, saying, “What we witnessed yesterday was not dissent, it was not disorder, it was not protest. It was chaos. They weren’t protesters, don’t dare call them protesters. They were a riotous mob, insurrectionists, domestic terrorists. It’s that basic, it’s that simple.”
Tellingly, Biden refused to use such language when Black Lives Matter and antifa militants were throwing Molotov cocktails at federal buildings, setting up “autonomous zones,” and burning down cities. Despite the fact that leftist violence has wracked American cities for years (remember Ferguson and the shooting of police officers in Dallas in 2016?), Biden seized on the Capitol riots as evidence that everything the Right had been saying the past four years was a blatant and destructive lie.
Big Tech companies appear to have applied this same double standard on political violence — and those who were paying attention could have predicted this back in 2017.
In September 2017, after the Charlottesville riots, the credit card processing company Vanco Payment Solutions canceled its contract with the small Catholic nonprofit The Ruth Institute (RI), citing the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). RI aims to help victims of the Sexual Revolution, but the SPLC placed this small conservative Christian nonprofit on a list with the Ku Klux Klan because RI cites the Catechism of the Catholic Church to say that homosexual activity is “intrinsically disordered.”
To conservatives who are familiar with the SPLC, this attack would not come as a surprise. This once-noble civil rights organization has become a far-left smear factory, weaponizing its history of suing white supremacists and the Ku Klux Klan into bankruptcy and monitoring them through its Klanwatch program to silence conservative thought. Using the modern version of the Klanwatch program, the SPLC brands mainstream conservative organizations “hate groups,” listing them along with the KKK on a “hate map.” This “hate map” inspired a deranged man to target the Family Research Council (FRC) for a mass shooting in 2012.
Big Tech, the legacy media, Democrats, and corporate America have used the SPLC “hate group” list to cancel mainstream conservative groups. The SPLC has repeatedly pressured Big Tech to clamp down on conservative “hate groups,” suggesting this is the right way to fight white supremacist terrorism. Amazon has excluded mainstream conservative Christian nonprofits from its charity program, Amazon Smile. The event managing site Eventbrite blacklisted a mainstream conservative national security nonprofit, ACT for America, citing the SPLC’s accusation that it is an “anti-Muslim hate group,” because it warns against radical Islamist terrorism. Hyatt Hotels did the same. Last year, The New York Times, the Miami Herald, and the Tampa Bay Times repeated SPLC talking points against ACT for America and successfully pressured Mar-a-Lago to cancel a gala with the conservative group.
The SPLC is not a reliable arbiter of hate and it has many skeletons in its closet. In 2019, the SPLC fired its co-founder, had its president step down, and had a prominent member of the board distance herself. The scandal broke out due to accusations of (decades-old) racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Amid the scandal, former employees came forward to expose the “con” of exaggerating hate to bilk donors. I wrote a book, Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center, explaining the many reasons why this far-left smear factory should not be trusted.
Despite all this, the SPLC still enjoys considerable sway, especially among the Democratic Party. When Attorney General Dana Nessel (D-Mich.) announced a new “hate crimes” unit, she specifically cited the SPLC’s list of “hate groups” in the state. Kamala Harris, soon to become vice president, has repeatedly cited the SPLC in attacking Trump’s judicial and administration nominees.
Parler’s disappearance from the internet reminds me very much of the SPLC’s nefarious efforts to silence conservative nonprofits. It seems the SPLC’s cancel culture has gone mainstream. With Parler gone, conservatives are flocking to Gab, MeWe, and other alternatives. What happens when Big Tech turns on those, too?
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.