Every Deleted Parler Post, Many With Users’ Location Data, Has Been Archived
Posted January 11, 2021
- In the wake of the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by scores of President Trump’s supporters, a lone researcher began an effort to catalogue the posts of social media users across Parler, a platform founded to provide conservative users a safe haven for uninhibited “free speech” — but which ultimately devolved into a hotbed of far-right conspiracy theories, unchecked racism, and death threats aimed at prominent politicians.
- Hoping to create a lasting public record for future researchers to sift through, @donk_enby began by archiving the posts from that day. The scope of the project quickly broadened, however, as it became increasingly clear that Parler was on borrowed time. Apple and Google announced that Parler would be removed from their app stores because it had failed to properly moderate posts that encouraged violence and crime. The final nail in the coffin came Saturday when Amazon announced it was pulling Parler’s plug.
- In a tweet early Sunday, @donk_enby said she was crawling some 1.1 million Parler video URLs. “These are the original, unprocessed, raw files as uploaded to Parler with all associated metadata,” she said. Included in this data tranche, now more than 56 terabytes in size, @donk_enby confirmed that the raw video files include GPS metadata pointing to exact locations of where the videos were taken.
- The privacy implications are obvious, but the copious data may also serve as a fertile hunting ground for law enforcement.
- Parler is unlikely to rebound quickly, if at all. Migrating a large product off AWS can take months of staging and possibly years to execute.
– Dell Cameron | January 11, 2021