Technology

Parler says it alerted FBI to threats before Capitol riot

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Parler flagged material posted on its platform to the FBI in the run-up to the violent insurrection at the Capitol in January, the conservative social media network claimed in a letter to a lawmaker.

In the letter dated Thursday to House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), lawyers for the platform said that the company referred violent content to the agency more than 50 times.

The lawyers noted that some of those flagged posts included threats specific to the Capitol, where five people died during an attempt to stop Congress from verifying President Biden’s electoral college win.

“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 lawyers wrote.

The letter includes a screenshot of what appears to be an email correspondence between Parler and the FBI.

A spokesperson for the FBI declined to comment.

Parler, which has pitched itself as a free speech alternative platform to Facebook and Twitter, has been criticized for being rife with content about storming Congress before Jan. 6.

Shortly after the attack, it was blocked from the Apple and Google app stores and subsequently dropped by Amazon Web Services, functionally taking the service offline.

The platform announced last month that it would be relaunching.

Parler had challenged Amazon over cutting off service in federal court, but dropped that challenge earlier this month before filing a new one in Washington state court with largely the same allegations.

A spokesperson for Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the claims in Parler’s letter.

The letter was directed to Maloney because she had previously demanded answers about the platform and asked for a FBI investigation into the role Parler played in the riot at the Capitol.

House Oversight ranking member James Comer (R-Ky.) said the new letter “fully debunked Chairwoman Maloney’s claims as not only baseless, but outrageous and entirely fictitious,” in a statement Thursday, while also calling for Twitter and Facebook to be investigated. Content about the riot was also present on those platforms.

A spokesperson for Maloney did not immediately return a request for comment on Parler’s letter or Comer’s statement.

Tags Amazon Capitol breach Carolyn Maloney James Comer Joe Biden Parler Twitter

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