On the app, discussions over politics had ramped up. But so had conspiracy theories that falsely said the election had been stolen from Trump, with users urging aggressive demonstrations last week when Congress met to certify the election of President-elect Joe Biden.
Those calls for violence soon came back to haunt Matze, 27, a software engineer from Las Vegas and Parler’s chief executive. By Saturday night, Apple and Google had removed Parler from their app stores and Amazon said it would no longer host the site on its computing services, saying it had not sufficiently policed posts that incited violence and crime. As a result, Parler was set to disappear from the web on Monday.
That set off a furious effort to keep Parler online. Matze said on Sunday that he was racing to save the data of Parler’s roughly 15 million users from Amazon’s computers. He was also calling company after company to find one willing to support Parler with hundreds of computer servers.
“I believe Amazon, Google, Apple worked together to try and ensure they don’t have competition,” Matze said on Parler late Saturday. “They will NOT win! We are the worlds last hope for free speech and free information.” He said the app would probably shut down “for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch.”
Parler’s plight immediately drew condemnation from those on the right, who compared the big tech companies to authoritarian overlords.
Parler has now become a test case in a renewed national debate over free speech on the internet and whether tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon have too much power. That debate has intensified since Trump was barred from posting on Twitter and Facebook last week after a violent mob, urged on by the president and his social media posts, stormed the Capitol.