A few days ago, the Talk app made headlines around the world. Until then, many were unaware of its existence and now wonder what exactly happened and what caused its closure.
It is even more confusing that Donald Trump and his supporters got involved. What does the President of the United States have to do with all of this, and why has the Spanish right expressed its disagreement?
What is Talking?
Talking is a Twitter-like app that also works as a social network and micro-blogging platform. In it, users can share their opinions and interact with others from any electronic device, be it a computer or a smartphone.
Since its launch in August 2018, the creators of Parler have claimed it as the social network for freedom of expression and have positioned themselves as an alternative to more popular ones with a stricter moderation policy like Twitter or Facebook.
Also since its inception, Parler has been particularly popular with members of the far right and is known to provide space for Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-feminist and far-right content in general.
This is why it has been very well received by Donald Trump’s followers, who have a harder time sharing comments of this type on other platforms. Speaking of which, many conspiracy theories have spread like those of QAnon, which defends the existence of an organized conspiracy against Trump and his supporters.
It was also one of the platforms used to plan the assault on the Capitol on January 6. Accusing Trump of using his platform to incite violence against those responsible for the attack, Twitter expelled the president from the social network.
Talking took advantage of Twitter’s decision, as at the time, many decided to switch to Talking. So much so that it has become one of the most downloaded apps on the App Store, although it didn’t last long.
Why was Parler closed?
Tech companies that have turned their backs on Parler are justifying their decision by making the platform’s lack of moderation policy a real threat to US security, as evidenced by the onslaught on Capitol Hill.
The first to announce that it was removing Parler from its App Store was Google, when it removed the app from the Play Store. Apple was quick, too, after the creators of Parler refused to implement a moderation policy.
But it wasn’t until Amazon announced it was suspending Talking About Amazon Web Services, the web hosting platform used by the social network, that it was shut down permanently, or at least until that he finds a replacement.
Two days later, on January 11, Parler sued Amazon for anti-competition. According to Parler, Amazon’s decision was conditioned by political issues and that they took it to reduce competition in the world of micro-blogging platforms and thus benefit Twitter.
As of January 16, however, the website was accessible again, although for now only from the browser. Upon entering it, you can read a message from its CEO, John Matze, in which he expresses his intention to continue to be a platform that can “provide a non-partisan public space. “
Which companies have suspended Parler?
As we explained, Google was the first company to suspend Parler. He followed her shortly after Apple and other suppliers like Twilio and Okta, which in practice left users of the social network without being able to access it from their mobile devices.
Finally, Amazon It shut down the service so that messages inciting hatred and violence cannot continue to be broadcast from its web platform. Scylla He also ended his relationship with Parler, who used his database.
Is the closure of Parler censorship?
The move from companies like Google, Apple and Amazon has been applauded by those who also believe that not everything is happening on social media and who hold the platform accountable for giving a voice to those responsible for organizing an attack like that of the Capitol.
Others have expressed concern about the power of tech companies on the internet and their supposed non-neutrality when deciding who they provide their services to. They also wonder if they are just as strict on all the platforms they offer them to.
Europe’s right-wing and far-right leaders were quick to criticize the move by big tech companies. In fact, before its final ban, Santiago Abascal, Bea Fanjul or Toni Cantó decided to open a profile on Speak.
Can the decision of Google, Apple and Amazon be considered censorship? Are Google, Apple and Amazon violating the freedom of expression that corresponds to all of us according to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
Article 19 of this declaration includes our right “to freedom of opinion and expression”, “to maintain opinions without interference and to seek, receive and disseminate information and ideas by any means of communication”.
However, as well explained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, this freedom implies “special rights and responsibilities”, among other reasons, “for the protection of national security or public order”.
It seems to have been shown that the violent events of January 6 on Capitol Hill in Washington were a direct result of allowing a message of hatred to spread that permeated much of the American population.
Trump supporters, encouraged by the president himself, have been convinced of an alleged general election fraud that gave Joe Biden victory and believe in the power to stand up for their beliefs until the last consequences, so far also through platforms like Parler.
Will talk reopen?
Parler CEO John Matze was so far confident that Parler would return at some point. He couldn’t determine if it would be in a few days or a few weeks, although he also admitted that it could never happen.
According to Matze, the best way for the platform to reopen would be to continue using Amazon’s web hosting services, although that may have to await the resolution of the lawsuit she filed against Jeff’s company. Bezos.
We thought Parler might finally choose to seek out another platform from which to operate, and at another point Matze had claimed to be prepared “for events like this by not relying on the private infrastructure of Amazon and building compact products ”.
Only time will tell if Talking can work as it did before. For the moment, it is true that Parler has already been able to reactivate its services, or at least from the browser, since it became available since January 16. The apps are still not working.