Parler executives have been insisting that the social network would be up any day now. Well, today is apparently the day.
After more than a month offline, Parler has risen from the dead, reappearing with a new interim CEO. In a press release, the company announced that its new leader is Mark Meckler, co-founder of the right-wing group Tea Party Patriots. The announcement comes a little more than a week after Parler fired its former CEO John Matze, who claimed he encountered “constant resistance” to his product vision.
Under Matze’s leadership, Parler’s user base soared. It also got kicked out of the App and Play Stores and lost its Amazon hosting, among many other thing.
Meckler said in the release that Parler was built to protect free speech. He affirmed that the social network, which has been caught up in a storm of its own making, was being run by an experienced team and was here to stay.
“When Parler was taken offline in January by those who desire to silence tens of millions of Americans, our team came together, determined to keep our promise to our highly engaged community that we would return stronger than ever. We’re thrilled to welcome everyone back,” Meckler said.
Per the release, Parler’s executive committee is looking for a permanent CEO to lead the social network.
Gizmodo has reached out to Parler to ask for additional comment on its relaunch but we have not heard back. We’ll make sure to update this blog if we do.
Parler has become infamous for its role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, which saw insurrectionists enter the Capitol building to try to overturn the presidential election. GPS data demonstrated that at least several users of Parler appeared to have managed to get deep inside the Capitol building. The platform, which is scarcely moderated, was also home to chilling death threats against politicians and tech CEOs as well as calls for a new civil war.
In the release, Parler claims to have more than 20 million users and affirmed that the service is only available to current users at the moment. New users will be able to start signing up for accounts next week. The Verge reports that Parler’s old posts appear not to have returned with the relaunch, but that high-profile users like Fox News host Sean Hannity were posting again.
Gizmodo staff tried logging into Parler to confirm this, but we were not able to log in to existing accounts or create new accounts.
Parler did not reveal who was providing its hosting services, only saying that its platform is “built on robust, sustainable, independent technology.” In January, the social media network started receiving services from domain name registrar Epik, which is famous for hosting other deplatformed and abhorrent sites such as Gab, the Daily Stormer, and 8chan.
Just because the social network is back online—for now—doesn’t mean it has a clear path to survival. Its app is still not available on Apple or Google’s app stores. In fact, the link for the app on Parler’s website includes instructions on how to sideload the app on Android.
Parler is also being investigated by the House Oversight Committee for offering former President Donald Trump a 40% stake in the company if opened an account while he was in office. The committee chair has also asked the FBI to investigate Parler.