The social network Parlor, popular with Donald Trump supporters, has made a partial online comeback with the help of a Russian-owned technology company.
The Internet disappeared from the network due to lack of moderation by Amazon’s hosting arm and other partners after users called for violence and posted videos, glorifying the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January.
On Monday, Parler’s website was re-arriving, though only with a message from its chief executive, John Mattez, stating that he was working to restore the functionality.
Infrastructure expert Ronald Gilmett told Reuters that the use of the Internet Protocol (IP) address is owned by Dodos-Guard, which is controlled by two Russian men and provides services including protection from distributed attacks.
Other customers of DDoS-Guard include the Russian Ministry of Defense, as well as media organizations in Moscow. Until recently, it offered 8kun – formerly known as 8chan – protection from DDoS. Last week, DDoS-Guard became the latest company to cut ties with VanwaTech, the hosting company of 8kun, following an inquiry from the Guardian.
If Parler’s “Free Speech” website is fully restored, users will be able to view and post comments. However, most users prefer the app, which is banned from the official Apple and Google stores.
Matze and DDoS-Guard representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
On Wednesday of last week, Mattez told Reuters that the company was in talks with several service providers, but declined to elaborate.
DDoS-Guard was registered in 2017 under a limited partnership, a financial structure in Scotland that allows non-residents to form companies with little scrutiny. Alexei Lichachev and Evgeny Marchenko, two Russian businessmen who registered it, remain owners of the company. The partnership under which DDoS-Guard is registered is called Cognitive Cloud and is listed at an address in Fourth Street, Edinburgh.
Speaking to the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don last week, Marchenko called Guardian DDoS-Guard a global information security service that hosted “thousands of websites”.
Parler critics said it was a potential security risk to depend on a Russian company, as well as a strange alternative to a site popular with self-described patriots.
Russian propaganda prevented political divisions in the United States, supporting Trump and raising false narratives about electoral fraud, but also protesting against police brutality.
The parlor, which revealed that it has more than 12 million users, sued Amazon last week after the service was discontinued by the cloud service provider, citing a poor trend of calls for violence.
In an update on Monday, Parler.com linked to a Fox News interview in which Matzey stated that he is “convinced” that Parler will return in late January.