02.18.2021 0

Parler is back online but the fight against online censorship has just begun

By Robert Romano

Parler.com has successfully moved to its new server after being deplatformed by Amazon Web Services last month, as well as being removed from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, following the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Parler was unfortunately blamed for the riot, leading to it temporarily being taken off the internet. But, the more we discover about the attack on the Capitol, according to Justice Department filings, some of those facing charges were pre-planning the attack as early as Jan. 1 on Facebook, not Parler.

The FBI also revealed via a wanted poster that the two bombs placed outside the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committee set to go off on Jan.6 were planted the night before on Jan. 5. That appears to have nothing to do with Parler, either.

Mark Meckler, interim CEO at Parler, announced the app’s relaunch: “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 added, “Parler is being run by an experienced team and is here to stay. We will thrive as the premier social media platform dedicated to free speech, privacy and civil dialogue.”

That is certainly great news. But the battle against online censorship is only beginning.

All Amazon, Apple and Google accomplished was making it so that voices like Americans for Limited Government, which immediately denounced the political violence at the U.S. Capitol and urged calm, were not heard on Parler by our more than 88,000 followers for more than a month.

Meaning, even if you thought Parler was somehow worse than Facebook, Twitter or YouTube — it’s isn’t with but a fraction of their collective user base of hundreds of millions and now we know it was on other platforms the planning occurred — then you would want voices on there that were opposed to violence and embracing peace and the civil society to continue sending their messages.

Instead, in the name of silencing “violence,” Big Tech censored those who were urging for cooler heads to prevail. Good work.

The real danger here is that this purge will drive more and more people to darker and darker corners of the web, becoming itself a radicalizing element and making it more likely that the civil society will continue to collapse as individuals give up on believing that our system works at all.

Fortunately, with Parler back up and running, there is once again an alternative to Big Tech.

But the hardest task will be letting users know that it’s okay to come back. Parler.com is available on the internet from your desktop computer, but if you had downloaded it on your Apple or Android phone prior to the app being removed, you should still be able to log in on there, too.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning reacted to Parler’s relaunch, stating, “This is a great step toward providing a counterbalance to the Silicon Valley techno-fascists who are intent on stopping any speech that they don’t like. Over the many weeks since Parler was taken down by a combination of Apple, Google and Amazon to the applause of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, America has witnessed a brazen collaboration by tech giants to stop mainstream voices from objecting to their radical, extremist agenda.”

Manning added, concluding, “Parler allows all sides to be heard and doesn’t block those who follow a group like Americans for Limited Government (@limitgov) from seeing our content. This allows people to decide what voices they want to read and not some anonymous, Silicon Valley twit.  The Internet is a better place with free and open conversations and discussions, and Parler’s return is good news indeed for America.”

As John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty in 1859, “[W]hen society is itself the tyrant — society collectively over the separate individuals who compose it — its means of tyrannising are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates; and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself.”

To keep our liberty and our freedoms intact not only from the government, but also from corporate censorship, We must avoid that fate, and the social tyranny Mill warned about — before it is too late.

Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

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