That the alternative social media platform Parler was unjustly vilified and wrongly targeted for cancelation in response to the Capitol riots is simply inarguable at this point.
As proof, last month we learned via a Forbes analysis of the DOJ’s charging documents that of all the social media platforms where planning for the riots was said to have taken place, Parler’s role was the most minimal of them all. As The Federalist’s Rachel Bovard reported at the time:
The Department of Justice has now charged 223 people for their participation in the events of Jan. 6. A comprehensive analysis of those charging documents performed by Forbes demonstrate that Parler’s role was minimal, compared to that of Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Of the 223 charging documents, 73 reference posts on Facebook as evidence, 24 reference posts on YouTube, 20 single out Instagram posts (owned by Facebook), and only eight highlight posts on Parler.
Was Parler involved? Yes. Was the platform the virtual Bat Cave of Incitement and Violence that Apple, Google, Amazon, and thoroughly un-critical press reporting made it out to be? Hardly. If any single platform can be fingered as the favorite of the rioters, it appears to be Facebook.
As additional evidence, attorneys for Parler sent a receipt-filled letter Thursday to House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who in January called on the FBI to “conduct a robust examination of the role that the social media site Parler played in the assault, including as a potential facilitator of planning and incitement related to the violence, as a repository of key evidence posted by users on its site, and as a potential conduit for foreign governments who may be financing civil unrest in the United States.”
The Washington Post highlighted key excerpts from Parler’s letter to Maloney:
The conservative social network Parler informed the FBI of “specific threats of violence being planned at the Capitol” in advance of the Jan. 6 riot there, the company asserted in a letter to lawmakers Thursday, deepening questions about why the bureau did not muster a more aggressive response.
In a lengthy letter to Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, lawyers for Parler wrote that the company referred violent content from its platform to the FBI more than 50 times, and those referrals included specific threats to the U.S. Capitol.
On Dec. 24, for example, Parler turned over to the bureau a post from a user who “called for the congregation of an armed force of 150,000 on the Virginia side of the Potomac River to ‘react to the congressional events of January 6th,’ ” lawyers for the company wrote, an apparent reference to lawmakers’ formal count of the election results. And on Jan. 2, the lawyers wrote, Parler gave the bureau posts by a user who claimed he would be wearing body armor at a planned event on Jan. 6 and asserted it was “not a rally and it’s no longer a protest.”
They also dispute the insinuation that they colluded with Russia and offered former President Trump an ownership interest in the company. The full letter, which includes a sampling of receipts, can be read/viewed here.
If true, the claims made by Parler in their response letter to Maloney equate to a massive scandal and would completely blow the lid off of what has increasingly been shown to be a sham, perhaps financially-driven Democratic Congressional “investigation” into their activities. Parler’s assertions in the letter also lend credence to the belief by many conservatives that Big Tech giants used what appear to be trumped-up allegations of collusion and coordination about the Capitol riots as an excuse to cancel a competitor. They said as much at the end of the letter:
Parler thanks the Committee for the opportunity to respond to the Committee’s Letter and thereby set the record straight about Big Tech’s damaging disinformation campaign and anticompetitive efforts to de-platform the Company. As explained above, Parler was poised to challenge Twitter’s and Facebook’s dominance of social media when the Big Tech giants colluded to scapegoat Parler for the tragic events at the Capitol on January 6th.
We trust that the new information presented in this letter will prompt the Committee to reconsider its focus on Parler and instead investigate the unlawful and anticompetitive actions by Big Tech. Only by holding Big Tech accountable for its anticompetitive conduct will it be possible to level the playing field for small start-up companies like Parler.
The case they presented in the letter looks pretty solid, but as we saw during the Trump administration, investigations weren’t about getting to the truth, they were about “proving” pre-determined Democratic narratives about Trump – and sometimes with “evidence” that was cooked.
It will be very interesting to see how Democrats and Big Tech respond to Parler’s claims. Stay tuned.