Parler user data was saved and could be exploited


Social media platform Parler is currently offline, but its public content was scraped and archived Monday by researchers, who could use the data to help identify criminals.

Parler users who uploaded videos and texts incriminating themselves as part of the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week could be held accountable thanks to the newly archived Parler data.

Many pro-Trump rioters, including the Proud Boys, shared videos on Parler, which included information like their GPS coordinates, among other details.

The researcher who scraped the Parler data, known as @donk_enby on Twitter, said that she only saved Parler content that was available publicly via the web in order to create a lasting public record for other researchers and the police authorities to search through.

Parler, which is popular with conservatives, has been attacked for not doing enough to stop or block posts inciting violence in the aftermath of the attack on the Capitol last week.

Parler CEO John Matze said Monday that he cared about violence incited on his social media platform and pushed back on the impression that he didn't take responsibility for user-generated content.

Matze said that although his platform is focused on promoting free speech, it does not condone its users inciting violence.

Both local and federal authorities have arrested dozens of suspects in the past few days accused of playing a role in the Capitol Hill attack in which five people died and significant damage was done to the U.S. Capitol.

@donk_enby told Gizmodo that she began the work of archiving all of Parler’s posts on Sunday and ultimately ended up saving around 99% of its content by Monday. She noted on Twitter that she did not have any Parler users' personal information, such as email addresses, phone numbers, or credit card numbers, unless a user made such information public on the website.

@donk_enby also told Gizmodo that Twitter's automated method of moderating content led to unfair suspensions of users and unnecessary censorship that did not violate its rules, and such behavior had driven people to platforms like Parler, which has billed itself as providing more privacy and fewer speech restrictions than Twitter or Facebook.

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