Controversial social network Parler announces relaunch

Parler, taken offline over incitements to violence, announced its relaunch for users that already had its app. — AP

Social network Parler, which is popular with supporters of Donald Trump, announced Monday it had relaunched after being forced offline over incitements to violence on the platform.

Parler, which calls itself "the free speech social network", came under scrutiny following the Jan 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Apple and Google pulled the network's app from their download platforms and Amazon's web hosting service cut ties as well.

"Parler was built to offer a social media platform that protects free speech and values privacy and civil discourse," interim CEO Mark Meckler said in a statement.

He added the network was determined to return despite being taken offline "by those who desire to silence tens of millions of Americans."

Parler, which claims to have over 20 million users, said it was back for users that already had its app. New users won't be able to get access until next week.

Some users reported Monday on other social networks that they were having trouble connecting, including owners of Apple devices.

The Jan 6 attack, when Donald Trump's supporters stormed the US Congress building in Washington, was followed by questions over the influence of Trump and far-right groups on social media.

The ex-president was banned from Facebook and Twitter over the incitement of rioters in the storming of the US Capitol.

"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," Meckler said.

Nevada-based Parler, which launched in 2018, operates much like Twitter, with profiles to follow and "parleys" instead of tweets.

In its early days, the platform attracted a crowd of ultraconservative and even extreme-right users. It has since signed up many more traditional Republican voices.

Parler fired its chief executive John Matze soon after the deadly attack on the US Capitol. – AFP

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