Epik’s Latest Update on Parler and Online Censorship

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  • Source: UncoverDC
  • 09/19/2023

The popular social media platform Parler remains offline after U.S. District Court Judge Barbara J. Rothstein on Thursday denied Parler's motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to have AWS reinstate its web-hosting services. This is undoubtedly a setback for Parler, who is entering its third week without web access after being abruptly taken down by the Tech Giant.

As we previously reported, Parler currently has its domain registered with the digital platform Epik, a company that has been vocal in offering advice to Parler on how to migrate out of its current unfortunate predicament, as well as expressing its thoughts and opinions on the unprecedented harsh reality of online censorship that is erupting in the United States. 

Most recently, Epik released an update on its status with Parler after releasing an official statement last week. It is worth noting that UncoverDC has learned that all of Epik's services rendered to Parler thus far—outside of approx. $10 Parler may have spent to move their domain name to Epik—have been provided voluntarily. 

Rob Davis, SVP of Strategy & Communications at Epik, has been instrumental in offering an unbiased and essential assessment of Big Tech's seemingly very biased attack on Parler. He explained the company's immediate focus with Parler "has been on protecting their rights and ensuring their community platform is not leveraged falsely in an attempt to purposefully demonize a large segment of the population to cause more intentional separation. In effect, we wanted to help make our world a better place, by doing whatever we could as Americans and citizens first - with no political bias - to draw a line in the sand that highlights the bad decision-making of monopolies. The precedent of inaccurate reporting on Parler to suit the interests of BigTech's capitalistic growth under false pretenses cannot stand."

To characterize the double-standard that exists in the moderation of social media platforms, Davis spoke of the most recent violence in Seattle and Portland, explaining to UncoverDC that Epik made dozens of reports to Twitter and Facebook over content that attempted to target individuals and organizations in that area with prevarications meant to incite violence. He stated that both social media giants refused to moderate the reported content, adding, "The double standards are incredibly dangerous to the future of our country, and their choices of the type of incitement they let stand are far past transparent. They are clearly politically motivated, and being used to target and silence voices simply on the basis of calls for accountability and higher standards from our elected leadership." 

Epik's recent update declares that based on their recommendations, Parler is, to the best of its knowledge, working towards investment into its own service capabilities to guarantee that the social media platform can more efficiently achieve all future hosting and scaling requirements on an integrated basis. 

As a domain registrar, Epik reveals its responsibilities are to adhere to industry requirements, including effective management of abuse reports and moderation efforts centered around compliance with the law. Epik's update reinforces the main objective that the company shares with Parler, which is that "threats of violence and/or life-threatening civil disobedience does not constitute free speech, and both organizations have absolutely zero-tolerance policies regarding unlawful incitement." 

Visiting United States District Judge from the Western District of Washington Barbara Rothstein (Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi / The National Law Journal)

While Judge Rothstein (the Jimmy Carter appointed judge whose only "Notable Case" listed on her Wikipedia page is her recent ruling denying Parler's request) rejected Parler's recent request; the court was clear to state in its filing that "it is not dismissing Parler's substantive underlying claims at this time. Parler has fallen far short, however, of demonstrating, as it must, that it has raised serious questions going to the merits of its claims, or that the balance of hardships tips sharply in its favor. It has also failed to demonstrate that it is likely to prevail on the merits of any of its three claims; that the balance of equities tips in its favor, let alone strongly so; or that the public interests lie in granting the injunction." 

Though not reflected on her Wikipedia page, this isn't Judge Rothstein's first ruling involving Amazon. In 2015, Amazon boldly attempted to knock out web-based patents maintained by one of the world's most successful IP licensers. Ultimately, Rothstein tossed out the suit accusing Amazon of infringing eCommerce patents held by Telebuyer LLC, ruling the patents were invalid, handing the Big Tech giant a big win.

With Parler certainly facing an uphill battle, Davis noted that Epik will continue its mission as an ally and a beacon of hope to Parler as the well-intentioned platform navigates a pathway to get back online. The company questions whether it is in the public's best interest for a small number of social media cartels to have the power to de-platform Parler and subsequently silence the voice of 15 million U.S. citizens with which they apparently disagree, in a nation built on the freedom of speech.

Editors Note: UncoverDC is hosted at Epik

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