Parler, a website and mobile app popular among the American far-right, is back online in part thanks to a Russian tech company. Parler disappeared from the Internet when hosting company Amazon, like others, refused to provide services due to poor content moderation after users of the site called for violence and posted videos glorifying the attack on the Capitol on January 6.
On Monday, the Parler website became available again, albeit only with a message from its CEO that the site was being restored to functionality.
The Internet protocol address that the site uses is owned by DDos-Guard, which is controlled by two Russians and provides various services, including protection against denial of service attacks, infrastructure expert Ronald Gilmett told Reuters.
If the website is fully restored, Parler users will be able to read comments and leave them. However, most users prefer the mobile app, which is still banned from the Apple Store and Google Play.
Parler CEO John Matze and DDoS-Guard representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Matse told Reuters last Wednesday that the company is in talks with several companies, but declined to give details. DDoS-Guard worked with sites promoting racism, far-right ideas, conspiracy theories. The company also supported the messaging sites used by the perpetrators of the mass murder, including 8kun. DDoS-Guard also supported Russian government websites.
The company’s website lists an address in Scotland, but it is owned by two men from Rostov-on-Don, Gilmett said.
Parler’s critics have argued that dependence on a Russian company poses a potential security risk to the site, and is also an odd choice for a resource popular with people calling themselves patriots.
Russian propaganda has fueled political divisions in the United States by supporting outgoing US President Trump and promoting false information about electoral fraud as well as protests against police brutality.
Parler, who said it has over 12 million users, filed a lawsuit against Amazon last Monday after the tech giant shut down the site, citing poor moderation of calls to violence.
In an interview with Fox News, Matze said he is confident that Parler will resume operations by the end of January.