Talking has been dropped by large tech companies after it was used by members to incite violence on the U.S. Capitol. It now relies on a hosting service owned by two Russians.
Speak, the social network popular with alternative-right and conspiracy theorists, has reappeared with the help of a Russian-owned web security service as the website searches for a way around bans that have it. taken offline earlier this month.
“Our comeback is inevitable due to hard work and persistence against the odds,” wrote CEO John Matze in a new post, the latest since Amazon Web Services ceased hosting the site and been banned from Apple Inc. and Google. app stores. “Despite threats and harassment, no Parler employee resigned. We are getting closer and closer as a team. “
Speak, which was ditched by big tech companies after being used by operatives to incite violence on the U.S. Capitol, now relies on a hosting service from DDoS-Guard Corp., which is owned by two Russians, Evgenii Marchenko and Aleksei Likhachev. , according to documents filed with Companies House, a UK agency that registers information about companies and makes it available to the public. The DDoS-Guard website lists a location in Edinburgh for its head office.
Public data associated with the Parler.com domain name shows that one of the Internet servers to which it directs visitors is routed through DDoS-Guard. Another server, specifically for routing Parler.com email but not website content, is an Outlook.com address, operated by Microsoft Corp.
A spokeswoman for DDoS-Guard said the company does not host Speak and declined to comment on the services it provides to the social media app. He confirmed that he stores customer data as part of his offering.
Apple CEO Tim Cook defended Apple’s decision to remove the Speak app on Sunday despite complaints from critics that the move infringed on free speech.
“We looked at the incitement to violence that existed there,” Cook said on “Fox News Sunday”. “We do not consider freedom of expression and incitement to violence to be at the intersection.”
Parler’s domain name is now registered with Epik Inc., a Sammamish, Washington-based website services company, according to public records made available by Internet regulator Icann. Epik is also the domain registrar for Gab, another less restrictive social networking site popular with the far right.
Most of the features on Parler.com appeared to be down early Tuesday, in addition to statements from Matze and other employees. Members cannot sign in or post, and the app is still not available in Apple Inc. or Google Play stores.
“While we didn’t expect Parler to transfer its domain name to Epik on January 11, we are very grateful for this opportunity,” Epik spokesperson Robert Davis said in an email. “It sparked some good discussions on how Talking can be an inspiring part of the progression and evolution of future social media.”
Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Prior to its ban, Parler – which has less restrictive terms dictating what members can post and was endorsed by some Republican lawmakers and media figures – had seen an increase in user numbers as Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. banned outgoing President Donald Trump as well as users and groups who have supported the violence.