Parler, a social media website favored by the far-right, registered their domain name with Epik, a Sammamish-based company, after Amazon Web Services took the site offline last week.
The website, which serves as an alternative to traditional social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, found itself in the spotlight this month after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol Building on Jan. 6 in an attempt to disrupt Congress from certifying the results of the presidential election.
In response to posts that encouraged the storming on Parler, Amazon Web Services terminated its hosting service and pulled the site offline on Jan. 11.
As of Jan. 18, Parler is back online in an extremely limited capacity. A message on the home page states the website wants to “resolve any challenge before us and plan to welcome all of you back soon.”
Parler has filed a lawsuit against Amazon over its decision to terminate web services. After Amazon removed Parler, the social media site registered its domain with Sammamish’s Epik on Jan. 11.
In a statement on Jan. 14, Epik spokesperson Robert Davis said the conversations with Parler had focused on improving its policy rather than specific discussions about hosting and providing service. He also said Parler and Epik had not discussed the social media site registering its domain with the Sammamish company beforehand.
The statement outlined several steps Epik recommends Parler take, which deal with updating and creating new terms of service and guidelines to improve posting moderation and other back-end changes. It is unclear whether Parler asked Epik to host the website, or whether Epik will oblige them.
Epik has courted controversy before. In the wake of the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, where a white nationalist killed 11 and wounded six people during a morning service, another right-wing social media site called Gab was pulled offline.
The shooter had posted on Gab that he was “going in” before the shooting. As a result, GoDaddy terminated its web hosting services for the website. Gab is popular among the far right, including white supremacists, neo-Nazis and conspiracy theorists. Epik agreed in 2018 to register Gab’s domain. Epik has also hosted other notorious websites like neo-Nazi favorite The Daily Stormer and 8chan.
In 2018, Epik founder Rob Monster told this newspaper that his company would not host content that broke the law.
Questions about what guidelines Epik would require Parler to adhere to if they were to provide web hosting services to the social media site were sent on Jan. 18. This story will be updated with any response.