Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
With Big Tech honchos testifying this week before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on extremism and how their platforms handle misinformation, little ever changes from their repeated appearances.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Google’s Sundar Pichai all testified via video, and the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol was fresh on everyone’s mind, but the real news from the hearing may have come from Parler.
The free speech social media platform rival was shut down when Amazon removed its internet hosting, this coming after Apple and Google removed Parler from their app stores.
Parler’s alleged crime was that rioters in DC that day used the platform to help plan their antics and the company failed in preventing this from happening.
But the company turned that narrative on its head Thursday, telling the committee in a letter that it referred violent content from its platform to the FBI more than 50 times in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6, explaining they took “the extraordinary initiative to develop formal lines of communication with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
Parler responds to Rep. Maloney: “The Cmte’s interest in Parler appears to stem from a coordinated and widespread disinformation campaign designed to scapegoat Parler for the riots at the…Capitol…and to justify Big Tech’s…de-platform[ing of] Parler” https://t.co/orjTzYI5YP
— Benjamin Weingarten (@bhweingarten) March 25, 2021
“In fact, in the days and weeks leading up to January 6th, Parler referred violent content from its platform to the FBI for investigation over 50 times, and Parler even alerted law enforcement to specific threats of violence being planned at the Capitol,” the letter stated.
“Far from being the far-right instigator and rogue company that Big Tech has portrayed Parler to be, the facts conclusively demonstrate that Parler has been a responsible and law-abiding company focused on ensuring that only free and lawful speech exists on its platform,” the company continued. “It is thus time for Big Tech’s scapegoating of Parler to stop and for Congress to start investigating the real story here: how Big Tech giants colluded to destroy a small start-up company just as it began to pose a credible threat to their dominance on social media.”
Parler cited a Jan. 2 post sent to the FBI, saying the user said “he would be wearing body armor and stating that the planned event in Washington, D.C. on January 6th ‘is not a rally and it’s no longer a protest. This is the final stand where we are drawing the red line at Capitol Hill. I trust the American people will take back the USA with force and many are ready to die to take back #USA so remember this is not a party until they announce #Trump2020 a winner. . . . And don’t be surprised if we take the #capital [sic] building ….'”
Removes any doubt about the attempted siege being inspired by Trump’s words at a “Stop the Steal” rally earlier that fateful day.
Or that the federal authorities should have been anticipating the worse.
What’s more, Parler cited charging documents filed by the Department of Justice to say Facebook and Twitter were cited far more than they were — Facebook being “far and away” the most utilized platform.
“It is now well-documented and understood by honest observers that incitement occurred far more frequently on Big Tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter than Parler,” the letter noted. “An independent analysis by Forbes found that in over 200 charging documents filed by the Department of Justice in connection with the Capitol riot, Facebook was far and away the most utilized social media platform by rioters on January 6th. Of the charging documents analyzed, 73 included references to posts on Facebook, 24 referenced YouTube, and 20 referenced Instagram. In contrast, there were only eight referencing Parler.”
In a press release, Parler shared whatthe real motivation behind Big Tech effectively trying to kill it was.
“Big Tech rivals Facebook and Twitter saw Parler as a viable threat and ganged up with Amazon and others to de-platform and destroy the Company,” the release said “Big Tech has been effectively scapegoating Parler for the riots at the Capitol, but Parler’s revelations today show that the Company acted responsibly to try and stop the violence at the Capitol on January 6th.”
The company dismissed media reports that former President Donald Trump had any ownership interest in Parler.
“Contrary to what has been reported, and as explained in more detail below: the company is and always has been American-owned and controlled; Parler has never engaged in any collusion with ‘the Russians’; and Parler never offered President Donald J. Trump an ownership interest in the company,” the letter said.
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