- Parler’s new web host SkySilk says it wants to protect Americans’ right to free speech.
- SkySilk may disagree with some content on Parler but “cannot allow first amendment rights to be hampered,” CEO John Matossian said.
- Parler is the preferred social-media site of the far-right.
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Parler returned Monday with a new web host that says it wants to protect Americans’ right to free speech.
Though SkySilk “may disagree” with some of the content posted on Parler, the company believes the social media site – which is popular with the far-right – is taking the right steps to better moderate its platform, SkySilk CEO Kevin Matossian told NPR.
“We cannot allow first amendment rights to be hampered or restricted,” he added.
Parler was booted offline by its previous web host Amazon Web Services (AWS) in January, and shunned by other tech giants including Apple and Google, after pro-Trump supporters used it in the run-up to the January 6 Capitol siege.
AWS dropped Parler just days after the insurrection, saying the controversial social-media site “poses a very real risk to public safety” and refused to remove content that incited violence.
In a statement to NPR, Matossian criticized the tech companies who severed ties with Parler, saying: “SkySilk does not advocate nor condone hate, rather, it advocates the right to private judgment and rejects the role of being the judge, jury, and executioner.
“Unfortunately, too many of our fellow technology providers seem to differ in their position on this subject,” he added, calling their response “aggressive.”
“SkySilk truly believes and supports the freedom of speech and more specifically the rights afforded to us in the first amendment,” Matossian said.
“This is not a matter of SkySilk endorsing the message, but rather, the right of the messenger to deliver it,” he added.
The company would support Parler’s efforts to be a nonpartisan public square, he said. He also praised Parler’s new community guidelines, which oppose discrimination and say the site shouldn’t be used as a tool for crime or civil torts.
Parler also said it would allow users to mute or block other people, or comments containing certain words, and would place click-through filters on some posts.
Though the site would remove content, it would keep this to “the absolute minimum,” it said.
“We prefer to leave decisions about what is seen and who is heard to each individual,” the site added.
Insider has contacted Parler and SkySilk for comment.
In the run up to the Capitol siege, Parler became a haven for far-right activity and misinformation because of its lax stance on moderating content. During the riots, users cheered the protestors on or called for more violence.
“The time has come Patriots. This is our time. Time to take back our country. Time to fight for our freedom,” Lin Wood, a pro-Trump lawyer, wrote on Parler.
Since the attacks, numerous Parler users have been charged in connection with the riot, and in some cases the Department of Justice referred to the threats they had made on Parler, according to Carolyn B. Maloney, chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. The committee has launched an investigation into the site’s connections with the Trump Organization, Russia, and the Capitol siege.
Parler’s board, headed by conservative megadonor Rebekah Mercer, fired CEO John Matze in January. Matze said his ousting was in response to his push for more strict moderation of extremism and violence on the platform.
Mark Meckler, an attorney, political activist, and founder of the Tea Party Patriots, has replaced Matze as interim CEO.