New-ish "free speech" app, Parler

Yeah, when it happened, I posited to a friend that I thought it was most likely a web scrape of some kind based on donk_enby’s characterization of it. (Of course, she could have been less than forthcoming and just not detailing the extent of what she did, but her posts seemed credible.)

Apparently post of the argument is that since AWS didn’t suspend the Twitter account/feed, it was clearly discrimination.

AWS response: we don’t host Twitter so of course we didn’t suspend them.

I think the “duh” is implied there.

“we don’t host twitter” — well…

Oh dear, someone at AWS will be in trouble for lying if the migration has been completed and this statement is untrue:

Parler’s Complaint is replete with insinuations that AWS had equal grounds to suspend
Twitter’s account and thus discriminated against Parler. For example, Parler cites the hashtag
#hangmikepence,” which briefly trended on Twitter. Mot. ¶ 4. But AWS does not host
Twitter’s feed, so of course it could not have suspended access to Twitter’s content.

NB: I don’t know if this is a nuance of web hosting (hosting feed vs timeline) or if it’s a timing thing (the announcement is from about 3 weeks before all of this)- I just found it funny that Parler used an argument that appears to be not true, and in theory could have been discovered with some homework.

Which, by the way, is perfectly legal.

What you do with the results thereafter might not be legal, but the scraping is peachy. Some sites will try to restrict scraping through various means, most of which can be gotten around by things like cycling through proxies, adding artificial delays, etc. Those means are also perfectly legal.

As for the AWS being a core piece of the internet infrastructure, if AWS went down tomorrow, a lot of sites would be temporarily down, but the internet itself would keep humming along just fine, and did in fact for a large number of years before AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, and all of the other cloud providers existed. The sites that went down would simply need to move them to another provider. If their content were so vile that they couldn’t find a provider (pretty hard to do with Epik in the game), there are still an insane number of options, including hosting in their own offices. I might be confusing him with Shodan, but I was pretty sure that Sam_Stone worked in IT. If so, perhaps he should ask one of his better informed colleagues about data centers. I can hook up a preconfigured rack of servers (that I fully own and Amazon can’t touch) in a data center the same day, as long as they have someone on site to connect me to power and tell me where to roll the rack (they like to control that part in most data centers). If I get real busy (more than Parler, for instance), then I can roll in another rack. If I’m worried about a tornado or power issues taking down my servers, I can even have redundant servers co-located somewhere else entirely. That is how things worked for years and still works for a large number of companies. It would appear that the far right is far more lacking in technical capabilities than in megaphones.

To be fair, without knowing what they are storing on AWS it might be valid as it might be a case where the content lies elsewhere. It could be that the framework of the timeline (i.e. userID -> tweetID, repeat) lives in AWS, but the content somewhere else. Without that info (and I don’t work for Twitter, so I don’t have it), it’s hard to say if “#hangmikepence” would actually be on an AWS server in this case.

Not sure if this was linked yet, but this is a great interview with the CEO of Parler from the NYT opinion section, from January 7. This guy sounds as douchey as you think he might.

(Actually his voice sounds a lot like Bill Gates)

Parler’s homepage has a message from the founder that they will be back at some point.

Probably roughly as truthful a statement as the average truthiness of all the postings collectively.

ProPublica has compiled a shitload of videos from Jan. 6th obtained out of the Parler scrape (uploaded by the terrorists), arranged in chronolgical order and marked for “around DC”, “near the Capitol” and “inside the Capitol”.