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Parler is dead – do you have what it takes to archive your extremist content?

Last Friday (8), Twitter caught the attention of the internet after announcing the definitive deletion of Donald Trump’s official account. It was only a few hours after the decision that both the Play Store and the App Store – official marketplaces for, respectively, Android and iOS – decided to remove Parler, a far-right application created in 2018 endorsed by the republican president.

On Saturday (9), Amazon warned executives of the platform that it would be shutting down its Web Services (AWS) infrastructure the next day. The email sent to Parler’s board was obtained by BuzzFeed News, and in the message, the company claims “to have seen an exponential increase in violent content on its website, all in violation of our terms. […] It is clear that Parler has no effective processes to comply with the AWS terms”.

In this case, Amazon was referring to the fact that Parler was widely used to organize and support the invasions of the United States Capitol last Wednesday (6), during the certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the country’s presidential elections. in 2020. The violent protests, promoted by Trump supporters, culminated in the deaths of five individuals and were described by Biden as an act of “domestic terrorism”.

“AWS provides technology and services to customers across the political spectrum, and we continue to respect Parler’s right to determine for himself what content he will allow on his website. However, we are unable to provide services to a customer who is unable to effectively identify and remove content that encourages or incites violence against others, ”explained Amazon.

(Playback: BuzzFeed News)

At the time this report was written, both the web version and the official Android and iOS apps by Parler were down. In an official statement, John Matze, CEO of the social network, said he would “do his best” to move your infrastructure to another provider. “This was an attack coordinated by the technology giants to kill competition in their marketplaces,” said Matze.

It didn’t end there

It may seem that the story would end there … Only not. A hacker known on Twitter simply as a “crash override” is causing a stir after being able to reverse engineer the Parler application and find the web address used by the social network to retrieve data. With that in hand, she managed to start a process of retrieving and archiving all platform content – including deleted posts and videos.

What happens is that, it seems, the service did not delete content as requested by its users, but rather marked them as “invisible”, keeping them on your server. The most fun is that all of this material has interesting metadata for investigations against the organizers of the Capitol invasion, including GPS coordinates for the location of those who posted live videos of the act, for example.

In its most recent updates, crash override claimed to have over 1.1 million Parler video URLs and 56 TB in social network content; she also asked the public for help to archive all of this material in the Internet Archive.

Source: BuzzFeed News, The New York Times, VICE

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