Over a month ago Amazon Web Services (AWS) severed ties with Parler and left the social network without a host.
Parler has since registered its domain with Epik and after over a month offline, the website is now back online.
However, because there is seemingly always a “however” when it comes to Parler, the site is only accessible to existing users. While you can click “create new account” you can’t complete the account creation process.
According to a report from The Verge, new accounts will be signed up starting from next week.
In the meantime then we decided to peruse the website and become acquainted with its terms and conditions.
While the company says that user data is encrypted and that it will never be sold, your profile won’t be suspended for practicing free speech and that “Parler believes in transparent relationships” there are still a number of rules users must abide by.
This includes not sharing manipulated media on the site, doxxing other people either on or offline, and trademark or intellectual property theft. It’s quite extensive even stating that excessive use of bots could get you removed from Parler. Interestingly, if you use a bot to issue “excessive queries” to Parler’s system, you will be removed from the service and only reinstated when you’ve paid “restitution for damages caused and value received by means of circumventing our system”. This rather extreme to our mind especially when the likes of Twitter won’t pursue costs if you spam a user.
But the rules only mean something if Parler enforces them.
The reason AWS kicked Parler out was due to the rampant amount of violent content on the social network.
“We’ve seen a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms,” AWS told Parler in a letter back in January. “It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service”.
While Parler doesn’t have to worry about its host for now, it may have to contend with something a bit more powerful – governments.
There is increased scrutiny of social media around the world and more and more governments are taking a stand against big tech.
It stands to reason that the likes of Twitter and Facebook have such robust privacy policies, user agreements and swing the ban hammer so frequently is because when a government comes knocking, those entities can show they have done everything in their power to abide by local laws.
Of course, Parler could be a lot more active in removing content that violates its terms, we won’t know if it will until it does.
While many will celebrate the return of Parler we won’t be signing up for a new account despite our earlier attempt. The reason for that comes down to a hacker who managed to scrap 70TB of data from the site.
While security might’ve been beefed up since January, that’s not really a risk we’re willing to take.