Parler, the web forum popular with Trump supporters and far-right groups, is back online after losing its web hosting when AWS kicked them off for violating their terms of service. After the violent insurrection on January 6 in which 5 people died, AWS had confronted Parler with a a list of 98 examples of messages that “clearly encourage and incite violence.” Posters had threatened politicians with firing squads and encouraged protesters to bring weapons to the presidential inauguration on January 20, 2021.
“We need to start systematically assassinating #liberal leaders,” read one post. In another now-deleted message posted the day after the attack, pro-Trump lawyer Lin Wood called for Vice President Mike Pence’s execution, writing “Get the firing squads ready, Pence goes FIRST.”
“These are things that mainstream social networks have policies against,” said Kevin Roose, a tech columnist for The New York Times. “And so, if you got kicked off Twitter for saying them, a lot of the time your next step was to make a Parler account and just move your followers over there.”
When Parler did not remove all of the violent messages they had been notified about, AWS terminated the hosting. Since then Parler scrambled to find a replacement.
As has been reported, Parler had first moved to Epik as their new registrar, as can be seen in their WHOIS record:
Domain Name: PARLER.COM
Registry Domain ID: 1336588_DOMAIN_COM-VRSN
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.epik.com
Registrar URL: http://www.epik.com
Updated Date: 2021-01-11T19:28:03Z
Creation Date: 1998-05-28T04:00:00Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2022-05-27T04:00:00Z
Registrar: Epik, Inc.
Registrar IANA ID: 617
Registrar Abuse Contact Email: email@example.com
Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.4253668810
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
Registry Registrant ID:
Registrant Name: Privacy Administrator
Registrant Organization: Anonymize, Inc.
Registrant Street: 704 228th Ave NE
Registrant City: Sammamish
Registrant State/Province: WA
Registrant Postal Code: 98074
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.4252025160
Registrant Phone Ext:
Registrant Fax Ext:
Registrant Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Now they’re back with a single page placeholder site while the forum itself is still unavailable. The website currently resolves to IP address 188.8.131.52, which is in the following network registered in Belize but with a Russian phone number:
owner: DDOS-GUARD CORP.
responsible: Evgeniy Marchenko
address: 1/2Miles Northern Highway, –, —
address: — – Belize – BZ
phone: +7 928 2797045
According to that company’s LinkedIn profile they’re based in Rostov-on-Don. This Russian company is a major provider of protection against Denial-of-Service attacks. In other words, they filter web traffic for websites hosted behind the filter. Most likely the actual hosting is at a different company to which DDOS Guard Corp. forwards the filtered traffic.
Parler’s troubles go deeper than finding hosting. Without access to Google’s Play Store for Android or Apple’s App Store, even with new hosting mobile users will only be able to access the site from a browser. The company also lost access to its SMS provider and other services, all of which will make it an uphill struggle to make a comeback. Most likely, other sites and services will absorb some of the user base while the forum is gone.
As the domestic terrorists who invaded Congress on January 6 will get prosecuted, that will also cast a spotlight on what went on at Parler in the weeks and months before the violence took place. Freedom of speech does not extend to inciting people to murder.
- Filing: Amazon warned Parler for months about “more than 100” violent threats (Arstechnica, 2021-01-14)